Leptospirosis Alert

LEPTOSPIROSIS LATEST ALERTS  13th April 2022 – Unfortunately another case of Leptospirosis has been confirmed on the Northern Beaches with a dog from Ingleside sadly passing away.

25th March 2022 – Sadly there has been a puppy living in Marrickville who was positive for Leptospirosis and passed away.

We highly recommend you vaccinate your dog now for Leptospirosis.

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Mice, rats and other rodents can carry infections that can spread to humans and our pets, and with a mouse plague currently occurring we’re reminding pet owners of the risk of leptospirosis – and infectious disease which can be carried by rodents.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection, and the bacteria may be present in rodent urine. Dogs may be at risk if this bacteria enters their body via cuts or abrasions, or occasionally through the membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes.


With the risk of more rodents being around due to the current plague, dogs may come into contact with leptospirosis through contaminated stagnant water, such as in ponds or puddles, or through any direct contact with rodents. Furthermore, the organism can survive for up to two months in stagnant water if conditions are favourable.


Given that indirect exposure to rodents is all that is needed to infect dogs, rural or urban dwelling dogs are both at risk of leptospirosis infection.


The symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs can be non-specific, and can include lethargic, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundiced or yellow gums, and changes to their kidney and liver blood enzyme levels. To best protect your pet, we strongly recommend that dogs are vaccinated against leptospirosis.


If your dog lives in, or visits areas impacted by rats or mice, then they are at risk from leptospirosis and need to be vaccinated.


It is important to keep your dog on a lead after rain to prevent drinking from puddles. If you have rodents around your property use pet safe rodent control methods.


For dogs that are suspected of being infected with leptospirosis, the condition is often diagnosed through a combination of clinical signs and through the results of blood and urine tests.


The treatment of Leptospirosis in dogs, involves intensive supportive care, including intravenous fluid therapy, and a course of antibiotics. However, the condition can cause critical illness including kidney failure, which can be potentially fatal.


There has been multiple cases in the Inner West area of Leptospirosis in the past 2 years – and sadly, many of the affected pets did not survive. This is why vaccination against leptospirosis is so important. Boosters are required annually if your dog has been previously vaccinated, so please ensure your dog remains current with its vaccination protocol.


Leptospirosis is also a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be of potential risk to people as well. People are at risk of contracting leptospirosis when exposed to the infected urine of affected animals. Veterinary staff will wear personal protective equipment when handling affected or suspected infected patients, and also when cleaning their cages and washing any bedding.


What to look out for: 

Leptospirosis may be suspected in any dog with:
–       Nonspecific clinical signs like lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea
–       Azotemia (kidney failure)
–       +/- hyperbilirubinaemia (yellow gums and mucus membranes), elevated liver enzymes
–       +/- glucosuria (glucose in the urine)


Important information that the vet may ask is:
–       Any contact with rats
–       Any contact with stagnant water (eg ponds)
–       Which area is the patient from?
–       Any travel to endemic areas (Previously has been Newtown, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Redfern, Glebe and surrounding suburbs)


Treatment protocol:

In suspicious cases SAH vets will recommend:
–       Collection of urine and blood samples
–       Ensuring gloves / PPE are worn when handling the animal as Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease (that is a disease that is transmissible to humans)
–       Starting treatment with IV fluids and antibiotics.
–       The patient should be isolated from other animals. We currently recommend isolation for 72 hours following the commencement of antibiotics.
–       The owner/s should be advised to seek medical advice.


We may ask pet owners to obtain screening samples from your dog before we vaccinate against leptospirosis, on behalf of a University of Sydney study into the prevalence of this disease. These blood and urine samples would be collected before the dog’s initial vaccination (only in dogs never vaccinated against leptospirosis before).


Leptospirosis Vaccination:

  • Leptospirosis vaccination can be given with your dog’s annual vaccinations and check-up.
  • The vaccine can also be given on its own
  • Dogs starting their vaccination course are given two injections 2 – 4 weeks apart (maximum 6 weeks)
  • If the booster is delayed more than 6 weeks the course will need to restart
  • The 2 to 4 week booster vaccination is included in the initial vaccination cost
  • The annual vaccinations are charged separately
  • Please ensure that you have your records up to date with the Hospital as we will send reminders regarding vaccinations
  • Vaccination reactions: these are rare but some dogs may exhibit some signs of lethargy or localised pain at the injection site. If you have any concerns please let us know.
  • For more information contact one of our staff at your nearest Sydney Animal Hospital.



What are the symptoms of leptospirosis?

Signs of infection include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, red urine and ultimately meningitis and kidney failure.


What is the vaccination called?

Protech C2i vaccine, which consists of a course of two injections, one injection on the day with a booster injection required two weeks later.


I have a puppy, is she to young?

The leptospirosis vaccine can be given to dogs from 6 weeks of age


What suburbs were the infected dogs found?

Previous cases were from the Inner West of Sydney area however we now strongly recommend leptospirosis vaccination for any dogs living in or visiting the Sydney area.


Does leptospirosis affect cats?

Cats are not as at risk as dogs and are not commonly affected.



Leptospirosis case examples:

We have seen multiple cases of Leptospirosis in dogs, including during this year.

In 2020 there were eight confirmed Leptospirosis cases between May and November and these dogs lived or visited Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Glebe and Redfern.

In December 2020 a case was identified in Annandale in a puppy. The dog had been adopted from a farm in Armidale 12 days prior. The dog was sadly euthanised due to renal failure.

In September 2020 a case was identified in Firefly, 300km north of Sydney. The dog was euthanised due to renal failure. In October a case was diagnosed in a dog from Cheltenham. This dog was a working dog used for sheep herding.

In August 2020, four leptospirosis cases were identified – in Newtown, Crows Nest, Balmain and Paddington. The dog from Balmain made a full recovery. The other dogs sadly had to be euthanized.

During 2019, we diagnosed a dozen cases of Leptospirosis in dogs, with many of these sadly being euthanased due to kidney failure.


Please ensure that your pet dog is vaccinated against leptospirosis.


Click here to read full article from Dr Christine Griebsch Dr med vet DipECVIM-CA (Small Animal) EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine. Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine, Unit Head Medicine. Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney.


Click below links to read tech information from Sydney University and Boehringer Ingelheim:




For more information on Leptospirosis vaccination, please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospitals:


Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville    Open Monday to Friday 7am-11pm Saturday & Sunday 7am-6pm

Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore    Open Monday to Friday 7am-8pm Saturday & Sunday 8am-6pm

Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista    Open Monday to Friday 7am-9pm Saturday & Sunday 8am-6pm

Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville    Open Monday to Friday 7am-9pm  Saturday & Sunday 8am-6pm

Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport    Open Monday to Sunday 7.30am-7pm

Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach    Open Monday to Friday 8am-7pm  Saturday 8.30am-4pm closed Sundays





#Leptospirosis #Rats #Lepto #MicePlague