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Golden retriever puppy Fred has recovered after contracting leptospirosis.

Golden retriever puppy Fred has recovered after contracting leptospirosis.

Davies Confirms Significant Increase In Leptospirosis Cases

3 weeks ago

24th June, 2024 14h49

Linnaeus Group

Linnaeus-owned Davies Veterinary Specialists in Hertfordshire has reported a significant increase in leptospirosis cases since the pandemic. 

Until 2019, its team would typically manage two to three cases a year, whereas now they are seeing a case almost every month. 

Katherine Clarke, European Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Davies near Hitchin, said: “Most of the dogs we are now seeing are either unvaccinated or dogs who have been vaccinated using the L2 vaccine. 

“Worryingly, we have also now seen at least two cases in dogs that have been L4 vaccinated.”

Katherine added that the team at Davies wanted to raise awareness to ensure referring vets have leptospirosis on their differential list, especially given it is a zoonotic disease.

Dogs with leptospirosis can present with variable clinical signs from non-specific fever, lethargy, polyuria, polydipsia, anorexia, gastrointestinal signs, tachypnoea/ coughing (due to pulmonary haemorrhage), jaundice and less commonly evidence of a coagulopathy (ecchymoses, petechiae, epistaxis, haematuria or melaena). 

More specifically, it should be a differential in any dog with an acute kidney, a cholestatic hepatopathy with hyperbilirubinemia, or a combination of both.

Katherine, who highlights that testing for leptospirosis is not straightforward, said: “Given the increased incidence of L2 vaccinated dogs contracting leptospirosis, the medicine team at Davies strongly advise use of the quadrivalent vaccine (L4) to protect dogs from as many serovars as possible.”

Rebekah Beck, a dog owner from mid-Lincolnshire, is always careful to avoid taking her golden retriever puppy Fred on walks where it’s been reported dogs have fallen ill. 

Fred is a rare case as was L4 vaccinated but contracted leptospirosis, although Rebekah does not know where he picked it up from. 

Rebekah, who supports calls for dog owners to keep their pets’ vaccinations up-to-date, said: “Fred’s just celebrated his first birthday and we’re so grateful for everyone at Davies for all they did to look after Fred. 

“I’m glad we had Fred vaccinated with the L4 vaccine as we will always do what we believe is the best for him.” 

For more information about Davies and the wide range of specialist-led services it offers, visit or search for them on Facebook or LinkedIn

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