If you're about to bring home your first puppy, it's important to stay aware of how to keep them protected from common diseases. One of the most devastating illnesses affecting puppies across Australia is leptospirosis. The illness, which is usually fatal, is contracted by coming into contact with Leptospira bacteria and it can be passed between dogs and humans.
Symptoms -- including fatigue, loss of appetite, increased thirst, yellow gums, shivering, vomiting and diarrhoea -- can come on suddenly, leading to death within a few days. Thankfully, you can avoid this disease by taking care to keep your puppy safe. Here are 3 ways to protect your new furry friend from leptospirosis:
Stay Away From Contaminated Water
One of the most common ways dogs contract leptospirosis is from drinking or swimming in stagnant water that's contaminated with Leptospira, the bacteria responsible for the illness. It's not possible to determine if water is contaminated, so many dog owners choose to keep their pet away from standing water altogether. For puppies and owners living in the Australian tropics or any town with high rainfall, this may mean avoid your usual walking paths during the wet season if they tend to flood. If your dog likes to get wet, consider heading to the beach instead.
Control Rodent Problems
As well as in water, leptospirosis can also be carried by wild rodents like mice and rats. Animals shed the Leptospira in their urine, and if this bacteria gets into your puppy's system (usually through the mucous membranes or a wound in the skin), your dog can contract leptospirosis. It's also possible for your pooch to get the illness from nibbling on the carcasses of these infected pests. If you have a rodent problem in or around your home, make sure you get it under control as soon as possible. If you feel your dog's usual walking trails are swamped with rodents, consider contacting the landowner or local authority about the problem.
Get the Leptospirosis Vaccine
One of the best ways to protect your new pooch against leptospirosis is to get them vaccinated against it. When you take your puppy for their vet check-up, ask the vet about the vaccine. While it doesn't protect against all strains of Leptospira, it can provide immunity to many of them, reducing your dog's risk of getting the illness if you live in a high-risk area like the Australian tropics.
For more information on dog vaccinations, click here!