Vets Release Warning After Dogs Contract Deadly Disease In Sydney Park

By Ally Parker July 9, 2019

Check your pets.


A Sydney vet has issued a warning after two dogs contracted a potentially deadly infection from the same park.

Potts Point Vet shared the warning via Facebook explaining that the pets were visiting Ward Park on Devonshire Street, Surry Hills before presenting to the clinic with Leptospirosis.

Both were described as playing in muddy areas.

"Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with bacteria of the genus Leptospira. These organisms prefer warm, moist, alkaline environments and are uncommon in Sydney," the post reads.

According to PetMD, symptoms and side effects of the disease in dogs include sudden fever and illness, sore muscles, stiffness in muscles, legs, stiff gait, shivering, weakness, lack of appetite, increased thirst and urination as well as vomiting. 

The Facebook post went on to explain: 

"Leptospira can remain in the environment through infection of reservoir hosts, most commonly rats, which then pass the organisms in their urine.

Environmental flooding (such as what has happened in Surry Hills due to extensive ground disturbance due to the light rail project) can saturate the soil and prevent evaporation of urine and the presence of stagnant or slow-moving water can prolong survival of organisms in surface water.

Leptospira can remain viable for months in moist environments under optimal conditions. Peak incidence in dogs in Leptospira infected areas often follows periods of heavy rainfall or flooding."

The vet clinic went on the say vaccination is only recommended for dogs in the area who are likely to engage in "high risk" behaviours. 

The disease has also been identified as zoonotic, meaning it is transferrable between animals and humans. Potts Point Vet add in a comment that cats are also susceptible. Human symptoms, according to NSW Health, include fever, severe headache, sore muscles, chills, vomiting, and red eyes. 

More information is available at NSW Health's Leptospira Fact Sheet.