Following another case of the deadly disease in Sydney, dog owners are urged by vets to get their pets vaccinated.
Now that the mouse infestation is widespread in NSW and Queensland, there is an increased risk of pets developing leptospirosis, a potentially fatal disease spread primarily by rats and mice.
Both QLD and NSW governments have issued warnings urging Australians to take measures to protect themselves against this zoonotic infection – meaning it can also be transmitted to humans – which has been linked to exposure to water, soil or mud that has been contaminated with the urine of infected animals.
It is a particularly worrisome disease for dog owners as it can be life-threatening. It can cause acute kidney failure and requires immediate hospitalization if left untreated.
Leptospirosis death rate is ‘very high’
While the leptospirosis vaccination is not currently a required immunization for dogs, many veterinary clinics include: Greencross Veterinarian Cross, recommend to get it. It is especially important for dogs that have been in contact with puddles, wetlands and rivers to get the vaccination.
dr. Christine Griebsch, from Sydney University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said: “We recommend that dog owners discuss the pros and cons of vaccination with their vet.
“Leptospirosis has a very high mortality rate to be taken into account. The risk of side effects from vaccination is much lower than the risk of dying from leptospirosis with the current circulating serovars.
“The vaccine should be given twice, 2-4 weeks apart and then annually.”
Leptospirosis cases on the rise in Sydney
In February of this year, three cases were identified in Waterloo, Figtree near Wollongong and Horsley Park in the Greater Western Sydney region. Unfortunately the dogs were not vaccinated in time; as a result, two were euthanized due to kidney failure and one died due to complications.
Another dog from Elanora Heights in the Northern Beaches was recently diagnosed with leptospirosis and had to be euthanized due to kidney failure.
Earlier this month, a dog from Erskineville was admitted to University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney before he was confirmed to have the blood infection.
‘I wouldn’t take any risks’
For Sydney-based dog owner Sarah H, getting the jab for Juniper, her Italian Greyhound, was a no-brainer.
“I heard a few years ago that leptospirosis was quite rare. But when I recently heard about the North Shore case, I wasn’t taking any chances,” Sarah told Finder.
The 31-year-old added: “I’m not sure why people wouldn’t just get the shot to be safe.”
How Pet Insurance Can Help
Unfortunately, getting your dog vaccinated can be quite expensive if you don’t have pet insurance. At the time of writing, Sydney Animal Hospitals are charging $198 for the two vaccinations required for immunization, which are included as part of a full consultation. RSPCA NSW charges pet owners $95 to prevent the spread of the contagious bacterial infection.
However, pet owners don’t have to spend as much money out of their pockets. Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, says that “pet insurance can cover your furry friend for the leptospirosis vaccination.”
“It’s included under routine care, which you have to add to most policies, although there are some providers that include it automatically, such as Pet Insurance Australia,” Blackburn added.
Finder looked at 25 pet insurance policies and found 2 that are automatically part of routine care. Several other providers, including: medibank, Vet choice and Coles, can also cover you if you pay a little extra per month.
In most cases you can book your dog directly and have it vaccinated. “There are generally no waiting times, so you can have your pet vaccinated the same day if you take out a policy,” Blackburn says.
These pet insurance policies can help pay for the leptospirosis vaccine.
Woolworths Comprehensive Coverage
|Yes||$100||$50 annual benefit on vaccinations or health checks
Plus $50 for one of the following treatments:
PIA Major Medical Coverage
|Yes||$145||Annual benefit of $50 for any of the following:
Annual benefits for all of the following:
|Go to site|
Adult dogs generally need regular vaccinations to maintain immunity to the disease, so include: routine care coverage, you can save every year.
“Since it’s currently recommended by vets, it can be much cheaper to get it as part of your routine care visit, along with the annual boosters you should be getting,” Blackburn added.
If you live in NSW or Queensland, now is the time to consider protecting your pet from leptospirosis with a pet insurance this also includes regular care.