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Leptospirosis - keeping your dog safe

15/02/2014

Leptospirosis is a highly infectious bacterial disease which can be spread via urine.  It can affect rats, dogs and humans too.  It can be contracted by contact with infected urine or through contaminated water (for example ponds and streams in which dogs may swim).

Symptoms include jaundice, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, thirst and abdominal pain.  Severe cases can be fatal within a few hours, and puppies are most susceptible.  Treatment includes intensive nursing, intravenous fluids and antibiotics, but unfortunately this illness can be difficult to treat successfully.

Dogs walked rurally in this area are at risk of leptospirosis and we have seen confirmed cases here.  Vaccination is the only proven method of preventing this devastating disease, and we have always included leptospirosis vaccine in your dog’s vaccination schedule.

Changes to the vaccine

Until recently the vaccines available only offered protection against two strains of the disease.  A new vaccine has been developed which also immunises against two newer strains, giving much wider protection.  We believe in offering the most effective and modern preventative care and so will now be using the new vaccine in all dogs.

How will this affect me and my dog?

From 1st March adult dogs coming for their routine boosters throughout the year will be invited to return for a second booster, 4 weeks later, in order to bring them up to full protection.  For the coming 12 months we will give this second booster free of charge to existing clients in order to help owners change over without extra costs.  In addition, although the newer vaccine is more expensive, we will not be passing on the increased cost so fees will remain the same.

Puppies will now be offered vaccinations from 8 weeks of age, but instead of receiving a booster at 10 weeks they will not be able to have their second vaccination until 12 weeks of age.  This has important implications for socialisation - please see our socialisation handout for more information.

For further details please contact us and we will be happy to answer your query.