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Protect your pet from this deadly rodent infection

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The mouse plague that has hit most of Australia has led to a surge in leptospirosis, a rodent-borne lethal bacterial disease.

Post-rainy mouse and rat population growth in eastern Australia may explain 107 cases of the disease reported in the three months to May. Queensland (53) had the highest number of reports, followed by NSW (46) and Northern Territory (5).

The disease can affect both humans and pets, as explained by Dr. Magdoline Awad, SMARTdaily’s pet columnist and chief veterinarian at Greencross The Pet Company.

Dogs become infected and develop leptospirosis mainly by ingesting the urine of infected rats and mice. Photo: iStock

Dogs become infected and develop leptospirosis mainly by ingesting the urine of infected rats and mice. Photo: iStock

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Hi, Dr. Mags, I was reading about the risk of pets getting leptospirosis from mice. I often see mice running around at night, but I’m very worried that my dog ​​will catch them.How can I prevent this from happening? Is there a vaccine? Rex

Dear Rex,

Over the past few months, several cases of leptospirosis have been reported in and around Sydney.

Leptospirosis, or leptos for short, is a bacterium that is excreted in the urine of infected animals such as rats and mice.

For some reason, we usually associate lept with rats rather than mice.

We need to be aware of lept, especially where the rat was in combination with stagnant water or puddles (building site, trash can), the potential risk of your dog catching lept. There is.

Dogs become infected and develop lept mainly by ingesting the urine of infected rats. This is usually caused by contaminated stagnant water or soil, or contaminated food.

SMARTdaily veterinary columnist Dr Magdoline Awad.Photo: Toby Zerna

SMARTdaily veterinary columnist Dr Magdoline Awad.Photo: Toby Zerna

Dogs that hunt and eat rodents can also get infected, so it’s natural to worry. All dogs are at increased risk if they swim or drink in slow-moving or stagnant water, or if they come into contact with potentially infected rodents or other animals.

Common symptoms include lethargy, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, hematuria, and yellowing (yellowing of the skin and gums).

The chances of recovery depend on the severity of the illness and when treatment begins, so you should take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, lept can cause acute renal and liver failure, which causes many dogs to die of the disease.

It is best to vaccinate your dog, especially in high-risk areas. You should also prevent dogs from swimming and drinking in waterways such as rivers, lakes and ponds, and take steps to reduce the number of rodents. Dogs that like to chase mice should take a lead and walk, especially in high-risk areas.

Keep in mind that leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease and can be transmitted to humans from the urine of infected rats and dogs. Therefore, it is very important to always wash your hands and see a doctor if you suspect you have been exposed to Lept.

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Initially released as Protect your pet from this deadly rodent infection

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