In the last 12-24months The University of Sydney Veterinary Teaching Hospital identified several Leptospirosis cases in the Sydney geographical area, including the lower north shore and inner west.
Communication from the Sydney University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (UVTHS):
“There has been another confirmed case of Leptospirosis in a dog that lived in Crows Nest. The dog was not vaccinated against Leptospirosis and sadly had to be euthanised due to kidney failure. This is the first case of Leptospirosis seen in Crows Nest. Last year we saw 8 cases between May and November and these dogs lived in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Glebe and Redfern.
Importantly, we have not seen any infected dogs which have been vaccinated against Leptospirosis. Therefore, please vaccinate your dog against Leptospirosis if you live within a 5km radius of Surry Hills, in Balmain, Crows Nest or its immediately surrounding suburbs or if your dog is in contact with rats. A vaccine has to be given twice 2-4 weeks apart and yearly thereafter to ensure protection.”
What is Leptospirosis and where does it occur?
Leptospirosis is a peculiar type of bacteria that has many sub-types (or serovars). It is found in many parts of the world and tends to be found in warmer areas. Its primary host is usually rodents such as rats and the bacteria can multiply in the host which then shed hundreds of bacteria in their urine.
How does a dog become infected?
The bacteria can be swallowed or invade damaged skin or even be sniffed up by dogs. Usually this happens when a dog drinks from a stagnant body of water that a rat has urinated in, such as a puddle.
What are the symptoms?
Leptospirosis can be fatal. In dogs, it initially causes very non-specific signs such as lethargy, elevated body temperature, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It often progresses to symptoms consistent with liver and kidney failure.
Can it affect other species?
Yes, other animals can also become hosts for the bacteria such as cats, but they do not seem to suffer such ill effects and rarely become ill. However, it is a serious health concern for people as they can be affected in much the same way as dogs. Severe infections can similarly cause kidney and liver failure in people.
How are people infected?
Leptospirosis is a Zoonotic disease. That means it can be spread to humans. Humans can get Leptospirosis through direct contact with urine from infected animals or through water, soil or food contaminated with their urine.
What should you do?
We recommend that you vaccinate your dog against Leptospirosis. Initially, it is a course of two vaccines approximately four weeks apart. Then there is an annual booster vaccination.
Please speak with our team if you have any queries regarding this disease and your pet. Though we don’t want to be alarmist, we believe it is essential you are fully informed to protect your pet. .
Call; 0296269561 or book online https://www.quakershillvethospital.com.au/make-a-booking.aspx