In the past 4 months we at Holmer Vets have been presented with 3 suspect cases of Leptospirosis. All the dogs presented were either not vaccinated or had unknown vaccination history. Symptoms with which these dogs presented were typical of Leptospirosis including lethargy, anorexia, vomiting (+/- blood), diarrhoea and jaundice. Liver and kidney enzymes were raised in all three cases, urine was dark. Dogs were admitted and needed intensive treatment with antibiotics, fluids and supportive therapy for several days, for this potentially life threatening condition.
The main route by which dogs contract Leptospirosis by exposure to infected urine or areas contaminated by infected urine. Leptospirosis is a zoonosis, which means it can also affect humans, typically symptoms are flu like, but kidney damage, liver damage and abortion in early pregnancy can also occur. Given that, currently, vaccination is available to protect against up to 4 strains of Leptospirosis, it is concerning that in an owner survey this year only 62-75% of dog owners report their dog had their primary vaccinations, 63-74% received regular, 12 monthly vaccinations (PDSA PAW report). With the vaccines we use at Holmer Vet Surgery boosters are required every 3rd year against other life threatening diseases including canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. We advise owners to check the vaccination status of their pet to ensure they are protected. Keeping the vaccinations of your pet/s up to date not only helps protect a pet as an individual, but also helps towards maintaining a good herd immunity, reducing the incidence of disease within the dog population as a whole.