Update on Leptospirosis 10/7/19
Dogs in the Inner City Sydney are considered at risk of contracting leptospirosis. There have been 7 confirmed cases, 5 of which unfortunately succumbed to the disease. We have advice from Professor Jacqui Norris Head of Microbiology and infectious diseases, that this is considered an outbreak. It is unknown as to why the disease has emerged in Inner City Sydney, but possibly there is increased rat activity and population movement associated with construction (e.g. light rail).
Sydney Animal Hospitals recommends vaccination of dogs in the Inner City Sydney area, under this advice.
Please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospitals for details on getting your dog vaccinated.
Newtown Sydney Animal Hospitals ph 9519 4111 69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville Open 7am-11pm Mon-Sun
Inner West Sydney Animal Hospitals ph 9516 1466 1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore Open Mon-Fri 7am-8pm Sat & Sun 8am-6pm
Sydney Animal Hospitals has been monitoring the outbreak of Leptospirosis, which is a disease transmitted mainly by rodent (particularly rats and mice) urine contamination. Our understanding is that there have been 3 (possibly 5) cases this year, from the inner city area. The disease can be fatal.
If a dog is exposed (this disease can infect cats, but the incidence is much less likely) there is a seven day incubation period between infection and clinical signs. Signs of infection include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, red urine and ultimately meningitis and kidney failure.
Leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans - it is a zoonotic disease.
The following is an extract from an advice memo by Dr Jody Braddock, specialist Veterinarian at SVES:
Reservoirs: Rodents (rats and mice) are a reservoir species for Leptospira and the most likely source of Leptospira sp.
infection in urban areas is exposure to infected rodent urine or exposure to stagnant water contaminated with infected rodent urine. The recent weather patterns in Sydney would be favourable for this organism to be more easily spread due to rain and pooling water, but it is considered likely that the organism is endemic in the rodent population.
Furthermore, the organism can survive for up to 2 months in stagnant water if conditions are favourable. Leptospires do not survive in dry conditions. Transmission is by direct contact of the organism (in urine or contaminated water) with mucus membranes or macerated skin, or breaks in skin or by swallowing infected water.
Leptospira vaccination is considered the best protection available for “at risk” populations however up to three vaccinations are required for maximum immunity - follow manufacturer’s recommendation. As for all vaccinations, there is individual variation in the level and duration of immunity, and it is likely shorter than that of the core vaccines.
Human transmission / zoonotic / occupational exposure:
Staff are at risk when exposed to the infected urine of affected patients. Staff should wear PPE when handling affected or suspected infected patients and masks worn when hosing / cleaning their cages and washing bedding.
While this is typically a disease of more tropical cities and towns, the disease has emerged in inner city Sydney so it is important that the Sydney Animal Hospitals clients in these areas are informed and aware of Leptospirosis.
Prevention measures include keeping dogs on leads after rain to prevent drinking from puddles. If you have rodents around your property use pet safe control methods, although rats and mice in laneways and back alleys are implicated in Leptospirosis transmission. Dogs in high risk areas or with high risk behaviours (like scavenging or puddle drinking) should also be vaccinated.
Sydney Animal Hospitals staff would be happy to answer any questions about the disease and vaccinating your pet.
Contact your local Sydney Animal Hospitals on;
* What are the symptoms?
Signs of infection include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, red urine and ultimately meningitis and kidney failure.
* What is the vaccination called?
Protech C2i vaccine is two injections, one injection on the day with a booster injection 2 weeks later.
* I have a puppy, is she to young?
Vaccine can be given to dogs from 6 weeks of age
* What suburbs were the infected dogs found?
Surry Hills and Glebe Sydney however we would advise vaccination to and dogs living or going for walks in the Inner West and city areas.
* Does this affect cats?
Cats are not as at risk as dogs and uncommonly affected.
Click below links to read tech information from Sydney University and Boehringer Ingelheim;