Leptospirosis can infect both animals and people.

Virtually all human cases are as a result of direct contact with animals. Leptospiral bacateria are shed in the urine and other discharges, of infected animals. Many animals shedding the bacteria will not show symptoms of the disease.

In New Zealand Leptospirosis in dogs is spreading and has been diagnosed as far south as Palmerston North.

This disease is transmitted through contact with contaminated urine and it is enters the body through breaks in the skin, mucous membranes, ingestion or bleeding.

The best method of prevention is vaccination. These vaccinations are usually given along with distemper and hepatitis vaccinations.

A dog with Leptospirosis needs urgent veterinary care. Treatment includes specific antibiotics and intensive fluid therapy. Some dogs may die despite treatment.