Deadly disease spread by rats has been killing Sydney dogs

A deadly disease for dogs is spreading across Sydney, with the rat-borne illness cropping up for the second year in a row, leaving experts concerned.

A deadly disease spread by rats has been killing Sydney dogs, with the second outbreak in as many years seeing more infections in a wider geographic area.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread through rat urine, has infected four dogs this month, killing three. Experts predict an increase in cases from last year’s outbreak, which killed eight dogs between July and November.

Last year, the infections were restricted to the inner west and CBD, but this year the disease has turned up in the lower north shore.

Dr Ben Brown, director at Sydney Animal Hospitals, said the increased prevalence of the disease was extremely worrying.

“Previously the cases were all confined to Surry Hills, Redfern, Darlinghurst and Glebe, and there was a case in Balmain, and now there’s been a case in the Crows Nest area,” he said.

“That’s particularly notable for us because it’s moving out of
that geographic area and starting to spread to the lower north
shore, which we hadn’t seen before.’’

Dog owner Kate Donnelly said keeping her pups Leia and Louie vaccinated against diseases like leptospirosis was a no-brainer.

“As a responsible dog owner, I have a duty of care to protect my pups’ health and those they interact with,’’ she said.

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