Leptospirosis Update

Northern Beaches

Leptospirosis - Current

A leptospirosis case was confirmed on the Northern Beaches in early June 2021. The dog was local to the Elanora/Narrabeen area and unfortunately died from the disease, at the specialist centre NVS at Terrey Hills. We are unaware of any other cases, but there have been a number of suspected cases

At Seaforth Veterinary Hospital vaccination uptake for leptospirosis is around 98% which is excellent, offering great protection for all our dogs

Since the inner city scare just over 1 year ago we have been rolling out the leptospirosis vaccine with each annual booster. We started in Sept 2020 so in principle we should have 75% of our registered dogs already covered. The acceptance rate amongst clients has been high, at about the 98% level, which is great

However if you dog's vaccination is due in the next few months (June/July/Aug 2021) they may be at risk and we are now advising not to wait, get it done ASAP. We do not want any more avoidable deaths due to thisi nasty bug

Here are some details you may wish to know

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected rats, mice or other rodents.  It is generally spread through contaminated soil or water.  Dogs become infected when the bacteria enters their body via cuts or abrasions, or occasionally through the membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes

It is possible that given favourable conditions, the bacteria can survive for up to two months in stagnant water.  Given that indirect exposure to rodents is all that is needed to infect dogs, rural or urban dwelling dogs are both at risk of leptospirosis infection

The symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs can be non-specific, and can include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundiced or yellow gums, and changes to their kidney and liver blood enzyme levels

The treatment of Leptospirosis in dogs, involves intensive supportive care, including intravenous fluid therapy, and a course of antibiotics. However, the condition can cause critical illness including kidney failure, which can be potentially fatal

For dogs that are suspected of being infected with leptospirosis, the condition is often diagnosed through a combination of clinical signs and through the results of blood and urine tests

Leptospirosis is also a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted to people as well. It is possible to contract leptospirosis when exposed to infected body fluids from your pet.  It can be passed to you through skin abrasions or mucous membranes (mouth, eyes, nose)

To best protect your pet, we strongly recommend that dogs are vaccinated against leptospirosis 
The leptospirosis vaccine can be given to dogs from 6 weeks of age
It is important to keep your dog on a lead after rain to prevent drinking from puddles.
If you have rodents around your property, use pet safe rodent control methods
Don’t let your dog walk off lead
Don’t let you dog swim in creeks
Avoid letting your dog sniff around in the underbrush

Leptospirosis vaccination can be given with your dog’s annual vaccinations and check-up
The vaccine can also be given on its own
Dogs starting their vaccination course are given two injections 2 – 4 weeks apart 
If the booster is delayed more than 4 weeks the course will need to restart
Please ensure that you have your records up to date with the Hospital as we will send reminders regarding vaccinations
Vaccination reactions: these are rare but some dogs may exhibit some signs of lethargy or localised pain at the injection site. If you have any concerns please let us know

Please call us if you have any questions or concerns or to make an appointment