Vet charity PDSA is advising owners to make sure their pets’ vaccinations are up to date following a confirmed case of leptospirosis – a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection.

Senior Vet at Aberdeen PDSA Pet Hospital, Fiona Gregge, explained: “Leptospirosis is quite rare; the bacteria are spread through the urine of an infected animal, often rats. But flooding can increase the risk of contracting the disease, which causes symptoms including vomiting, jaundice, lethargy, fever and organ failure – even with treatment it is often fatal.”

The dog that had contracted leptospirosis received intensive treatment, but sadly died despite the best efforts of the vets and nurses at Aberdeen PDSA. Leptospirosis is also zoonotic, which means it can be passed from animals to humans, although the chances of this happening are very small.

Fiona continued: “It’s incredibly sad to see a pet suffering like that, especially when a quick vaccination or booster could have prevented this. I’d advise all owners to make sure their pets’ vaccinations are up to date, but particularly those in areas that have experienced flooding in recent months. Leptospirosis usually requires an annual booster, but check with your vet if you’re not sure.”

Vaccinations can also protect against a range of easily spread diseases, such as parvovirus and distemper in dogs, feline influenza and leukaemia in cats, and myxomatosis and viral haemorrhagic disease in rabbits. Further information about vaccinations is available on PDSA’s website

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, PDSA will deliver 60,000 vaccinations to pets in 12 months. PDSA says around 20% of the cases it sees could be prevented, and funding from players has enabled the charity to set up a team of dedicated Pet Wellbeing Champions – one at each of its 51 pet hospitals. These veterinary staff are able to identify vulnerable pets in need of preventive healthcare and educate more owners about the benefits of vaccinations, neutering and flea and worming treatments.

Aberdeen PDSA Pet Hospital provides free veterinary treatment to the sick and injured pets of people in need. The dedicated team can see as many as 80 pets a day, providing more than 23,000 treatments a year

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