July 08, 2019

A lethal disease dogs catch from puddles has re-emerged

A lethal disease dogs catch from puddles has re-emerged
Dr. Chris Brown

A fatal disease that pets get from slurping up stagnant puddles has resurfaced in one of our biggest cities and sadly killed five dogs. Here’s how you can reduce the risk to your furry family…and you.

Leptospirosis is spread when pets (and wildlife) drink water that’s been contaminated with rat or mouse urine. Naturally with the recent rain there are more puddles and a greater potential for infection. Once gulped, the bacteria can lead to fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, red urine and ultimately meningitis and kidney failure.

While this is typically a disease of more tropical cities and towns, the disease has killed five dogs in inner city Sydney so vigilance across the country is important.

How can you prevent it? Keeping dogs on leads after rain to prevent puddle skolling is obviously going to be the most effective step. Rodent control around your own house (using pet safe methods) will also help. Dogs in high risk areas or with high risk behaviours (like scavenging or puddle drinking) should also be vaccinated. This is also one of those diseases that people can catch so be especially careful if you’re cleaning, gardening or playing sports around contaminated water.

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