Leptospirosis (or common name ‘lepto’) is a rare disease that is found mostly in Australian rural areas. There has been a lot of media attention about an outbreak which has put dogs in Sydney and surrounds at risk.
How does it spread?
It’s a disease transmitted mainly by rodent urine contamination. Recent weather patterns in Sydney and surrounds has made conditions favourable for this disease to easily spread as the organism can survive up to 2 months in stagnant water. Transmission is by direct contact with pets ingesting infected water or through breaks in skin.
This bacterial disease can infect humans as well and people at risk include those with close contact with animals, exposure to soil, water and mud that has been contaminated.
Prevention measures include keeping dogs on leads after rain to prevent them from drinking from puddles, routinely changing pet water bowls and avoiding play in areas of water build-up. Dogs with high risk behaviours or live in high risk areas can be vaccinated with ‘Leptospira’. Obtain more information about the health and safety of your pets from a veterinary professional.
It’s best to avoid swimming in water where there is possible contamination, cover any cuts or abrasions with waterproof dressings, disinfect and dry hands thoroughly.
If you have spotted rodent activity around your property, contact your pest control professionals to use pet-safe management methods. Not only will they be able to treat your property, they will be able to provide effective recommendations such as cleaning up rubbish and removing food sources (pet food) that are close to your home.
Signs of Infection
Some signs of infection in humans include loss of appetite, fever, red eyes, chills, vomiting, and red urine. Some people do not have all of these symptoms. As always, please consult a medical professional for advice.