Potentially fatal dog disease leptospirosis found in areas of NSW

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The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) wants all dog owners to be aware of a very serious infection of dogs, leptospirosis, which has been detected across NSW—with diagnoses on the Central Coast, Central and Northern beaches areas of Sydney and more recently NSW South Coast.

The AVA is suggesting that all resident and visiting dogs in these areas be vaccinated against this frequently fatal disease. 

Two dogs living in the St George’s Basin area of the NSW South Coast were recently diagnosed with leptospirosis, the first occurrence of this disease on the South Coast. Unfortunately, they were unable to be saved, because despite appropriate treatment, it is often is too late to reverse the severe damage the disease causes.  

This bacterial disease affects the liver and kidneys, sometimes the respiratory system and brain. Common clinical signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, jaundice, inappetence, changed frequency of urination and nosebleeds.

The bacterium are most commonly spread through contact with soil, water or vegetation that has been contaminated with urine from infected animals, commonly rats and mice.

In the recent outbreak, many of the infected dogs have not survived. 

“Vaccination, combined with preventing dogs swimming or playing in lakes, ponds or other sources of stagnant water (which could be contaminated) can help minimise the risk of leptospirosis infection,” AVA ACT Division president Dr Michael Hayward said.


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