Mouse plague: Why your dog needs the leptospirosis vaccination
Dog owners are being urged by vets to get their pets vaccinated against the deadly disease spread by rodents.
With the mouse plague running rife across NSW and Queensland, there's an increased chance of pets catching leptospirosis, a potentially deadly disease spread mainly by rats and mice.
Both the QLD and NSW governments have released warnings urging Australians to take steps to protect against this zoonotic infection — meaning it can also be spread to humans — which is associated with exposure to water, soil or mud contaminated with the urine from infected animals.
It's an especially worrying disease for dog owners as it can be life-threatening. It can cause acute kidney failure and requires immediate hospitalisation if left untreated.
Leptospirosis cases found in Sydney and Wollongong
In February this year, three cases were identified in Waterloo, Figtree near Wollongong and Horsley Park in the Greater Western Sydney region. Unfortunately, the dogs weren't vaccinated in time; as a result, two were euthanised due to kidney failure and one died due to complications.
Last week, another dog from Elanora Heights in the Northern Beaches was diagnosed with the disease and had to be put down due to kidney failure.
While the leptospirosis vaccination isn't currently a required immunisation for dogs, many veterinary clinics, including Greencross Vets and the University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Sydney, recommend getting it. It's particularly important for any dogs who've been in contact with puddles, water areas and rivers to get the vaccination.
How pet insurance can help
Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to get your dog vaccinated if you don't take out pet insurance. At the time of writing, Sydney Animal Hospitals charge $198 for the two vaccinations needed for immunisation, which is included as part of a full consultation. RSPCA NSW is charging pet owners $95 to prevent the spread of the contagious bacterial infection.
Pet owners don't need to be this much out of pocket though. Taylor Blackburn, insurance specialist at Finder, says that "pet insurance can cover your furry friend for the leptospirosis vaccination".
"It's included under routine care, which you will need to add-on to most policies, though there are some providers that include it automatically such as Pet Insurance Australia," Blackburn added.
Finder looked at 25 pet insurance policies and found 2 that automatically come with routine care. Several other providers, including Medibank, Vets Choice and Coles, can also cover you if you pay a little extra per month.
In most cases, you can book and get your dog vaccinated straight away. "There are generally no waiting periods, so you can get your pet vaccinated the same day you take out a policy," said Blackburn.
These pet insurance policies can help pay for the leptospirosis vaccine.
|Pet insurance providers||Routine care automatically included||Limit||What you get with routine care||Apply|
|Yes||$100||$50 annual benefit on either vaccinations or health checks|
Plus $50 for one of the following treatments:
|Go to Site|
|Yes||$145||$50 annual benefit for one of the following:|
Annual benefits for all of the following:
|Go to Site|
Adult dogs generally require regular vaccinations to maintain immunity against the disease, so with routine care cover, you'll be able to make savings every year.
"Since it's currently being recommended by vets, it can be much cheaper to get it as part of your routine care visit, along with the annual boosters you're supposed to get," Blackburn added.
If you live in NSW or Queensland, now's the time to consider getting your pet protected against leptospirosis with a pet insurance policy that includes routine care.