Leptospirosis warning for dog owners

Published on 01 July 2022

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Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has been alerted to a positive Leptospirosis case in the region and is today joining with local vets to recommend vaccination for local dogs.

In recent weeks, the Australian Veterinary Association issued warnings to its members that Leptospirosis, a potentially fatal dog disease, had been detected on the NSW Central Coast, Central and Northern beaches of Sydney, and more recently on the NSW South Coast.

The issue is particularly prevalent in rain-affected areas.

Until now, vaccination of dogs had only been recommended for those living in, or travelling to, the known affected areas in Sydney, Newcastle, South Coast, and the surrounding areas.

However, the diagnosis of a positive case in our local area has vets on alert. Reports suggest the dog in question had not visited any of the affected areas, so the source of the infection is as yet unknown.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of humans and animals. It is caused by Leptospira bacteria that are excreted in the urine of infected animals including mice, rats, cattle, pigs and dogs.

Dogs can contract the disease when playing in, or drinking, contaminated water such as ponds and puddles. Symptoms to look out for include, but are not limited to: sudden fever and illness; muscle soreness and stiffness in the legs; shivering; weakness; lack of appetite’ vomiting; increased thirst and rapid dehydration; diarrhoea, yellow skin or whites of the eyes; dark speckled gums; and a cough or breathing difficulties.

Council’s Animal Management team are on the lookout for symptoms in any dogs that pass through the Council pound facility and strongly encourages all dog owners to reach out to their local vet for more information and to book in for a vaccination.

The Australian Veterinary Association media releases from 17 June and 1 July can be found at https://www.ava.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/

Information about Leptospirosis in humans can be found in the NSW Health factsheet at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/leptospirosis.aspx