Canine leptospirosis is a serious disease risk in some areas and can cause high death rates. This bacterial disease is spread by the urine of infected rats and is usually transmitted to dogs who ingest contaminated food and water (e.g. drink from puddles), dogs who eat rats or from rat bites.
There’s an increased risk where high rat populations exist such as in cities, near rubbish dumps or around sugar cane areas. Incidence can also increase after long periods of wet weather or building activity, when rat populations are forced to move or concentrate. Leptospirosis is a ‘zoonotic disease’ meaning it is an animal disease that can be passed to humans. Human infection can occur through ingestion of contaminated food or water, or through open wounds.
This disease has low prevalence in our region, so it is not included in our core vaccination program.
Canine coronavirus is another contagious virus and causes depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea especially in young dogs. Diarrhoea may last for several days in some cases. Although most dogs will recover with treatment, coronavirus has the potential to be fatal, especially if other infectious agents such as parvovirus are present.
* Risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2*
At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.