Australia, NSW, Northern Territory: Pet owners warned of deadly disease

Pet owners have been urged to take action against a lethal disease circulating among dogs in two Australian states.

An Australian animal welfare network has warned pet owners of a lethal disease found among dogs in NSW and the Northern Territory.

The Companion Animal Network Australia (CAN) is urging pet owners to watch for signs of leptospirosis infection after recent reports in hotspots across NSW and the NT, including the NSW northern beaches and Greater Darwin.

Symptoms of leptospirosis include vomiting, diarrhoea, lack of appetite, jaundice, fatigue, abnormal urine and bleeding.

Australia CAN chief executive Trish Ennis said the disease, which affects both animals and humans, is caused by a bacteria specifically found in infected animal tissue and urine.

“After weeks of wet weather – with more on the way – and an ongoing mouse plague, we remind pet owners of the risk of leptospirosis as the bacteria can live in water, soil or mud or be carried by rodents,” she said.

Dogs infected with the disease may experience liver and kidney damage, damage to nervous and respiratory systems and in some cases death.

NT Centre for Disease Control health director Vicki Krause said recently detected hotspots in the state included Fogg Dam, Harrison Dam, the Katherine district, Tipperary, Daly River, Gunbalanya and Darwin.

Cases of leptospirosis have also been found in NSW’s Hunter Region, Marrickville and the northern beaches.

Two dogs in the Sydney area have died, while another dog was critically ill.

Owners have been warned to avoid swimming and walking their dogs if their pet has a cut or skin abrasion – a common way bacteria often enters an animal’s body.

Animal lovers are advised to talk with their local vet to discuss preventive measures and vaccine options.

Originally published as NSW, Northern Territory pet owners warned of deadly bacterial disease

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