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Vets have issued an urgent warning to dog owners about the worrying rise of a rare but deadly bacterial disease found in at least two states.
A spate of leptospirosis infections has been detected across Sydney and in the NSW Lake Macquarie region, which claimed the lives of at least two dogs and left a 12-week-old puppy fighting for life.
The disease, transmitted from urine of infected animals such as rodents, has also been detected in the Northern Territory and can lead to permanent internal damage and, in some cases, death.
Emma Bagnall rushed her usually energetic and playful 12-week-old Storm to the vets suffering from vomiting and diarrhea after a sudden change in temperament.
The Swiss Shepherd had been struck down with leptospirosis, leaving him critically ill.
Emma Bagnall was told to expect for the worst after her puppy Storm became critically ill
Vets prepared the fitness trainer for the worst and warned her beloved pooch might not make it through the first night.
‘They didn’t want us to go through with treatment and really pushed the other option,’ Ms Bagnall told NBN News.
‘I couldn’t bear it.’
One week on, Storm continues to defy the odds but remains in intensive care at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in Sydney,
The puppy is battling kidney and liver failure, as well as jaundice, according to an online fundraiser set up by Ms Bagnall.
She’s now speaking out to make other pet owners aware and stay vigilant for symptoms, including lethargy, vomiting, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and jaundiced or yellow gums.
It’s understood Storm likely picked up the disease from rats in a creek at the family property at Speers Point in the Lake Macquarie region.
Swiss Shepherd puppy Storm is lucky to be alive after being struck down with leptospirosis
The disease hasn’t been prevalent in the area since the 1950s, according to Cardiff Veterinary Clinic’s Andrew Cornwell.
Storm’s harrowing ordeal has prompted the clinic to urge all pet owners to get their pooches vaccinated against the serious disease.
Puppies require two shots at six and nine months while adult dogs need a booster every 12 months.
Sydney Animal Hospital also recently issued an urgent warning after the tragic deaths of two dogs on the northern beaches and in the city’s inner-west.
‘With the risk of more rodents being around due to the current plague, dogs may come into contact with leptospirosis through contaminated stagnant water, such as in ponds or puddles, or through any direct contact with rodents,’ the clinic warned on its website.
‘Furthermore, the organism can survive for up to two months in stagnant water if conditions are favourable.’
Storm’s harrowing ordeal (pictured with his owner) has sparked renewed warning for pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated against the disease
‘If your dog lives in, or visits areas impacted by rats or mice, then they are at risk from leptospirosis and need to be vaccinated.
‘It is important to keep your dog on a lead after rain to prevent drinking from puddles.’
NT Health Director of the Centre for Disease Control, Dr Vicki Krause recently warned of cases detected in animals and humans in the Top End.
An outbreak during last year’s wet season of 13 cases, mostly among workers in the cattle industry.
At least six cases have already been in the territory so far in 2022.
‘Infection may occur through exposure to an animal or contaminated water, mud, soil or vegetation – especially after heavy rains during the wet season,’ Dr Krause said.
Storm (pictured) isn’t out of the woods yet and in intensive care at a specialist clinic in Sydney