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WARNING – Have you had your dog vaccinated for Lepto?

June 12, 2016

We have recently seen cases of Leptospirosis, a life threatening bacteria, in local dogs.

Lepto can cause a range of symptoms including sudden fever, lack of appetite, weakness, shivering, sore muscles, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhoea, yellow skin and eyes.

Severe cases lead to kidney and liver disease and death. The outcome will depend on the immunity of the dog and strength of the immune system, as well as how quickly intensive medical treatment is started.

Younger animals are more at risk due to their less developed immune systems.

Leptospirosis can be seen in many different species including cattle, rats, pigs and dogs. In dogs the host species are rats. Dogs will typically come into contact with the leptospira bacteria in infected water, soil or mud, while swimming, passing through, or drinking contaminated water, or from coming into contact with urine from an infected rat.

Living in a rural community rats are common place not just on farms, but in town areas as well.

Leptospirosis is zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Children are most at risk of acquiring the bacteria from an infected pet as they are more likely to be in the mud or water, or playing closely with dogs. Therefore it is especially important to exercise caution in any dog that may be infected, wear gloves and treat bodily fluids as a hazard.

There is a vaccination for leptospirosis which is highly recommended. Unless your dog is a house dog with very little outdoor contact, then we recommend all dogs are vaccinated against lepto. The vaccination course starts with 2 doses 4 weeks apart and then is given every year to maintain protection.

Please contact us if you have any queries regarding this devastating disease.