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Are you worried about your pet and would like advice?

M A Aldridge Ltd based near Derby are here to help. Take a look at our helpful and useful advice about pet healthcare and various other topics.

Our pet healthcare and advice includes:
  • Common problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Puppy care
  • Surgery advice
  • Travelling
  • General care
Leptospirosis & your dog
What is leptospirosis?

Leptospirosis is a widespread bacterial disease that affects dogs, wild rodents, and many other species.

In dogs, in its early stages, it is often hard to diagnose. But if left untreated it can quickly progress to potentially fatal liver or kidney failure.

Even if treated early with antibiotics, infected dogs can shed the bacteria in their urine for months or even years.

Is your dog at risk?

Leptospirosis is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals, either directly or indirectly from a contaminated environment.

A common example might be still or slow moving water contaminated with the urine of infected rodents. Wild rodents such as rats can carry the disease and shed the bacteria for years without ever showing any signs of illness.

In truth, virtually any dog that is exercised outdoors is potentially at risk.



Leptospirosis & humans

Leptospirosis is also a ‘zoonotic’ disease, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans.

It is currently considered to be the most widespread zoonotic disease in the world1.

In humans, as in dogs, leptospirosis is a potentially life-threatening disease.

It is therefore critical to prevent your dog from becoming infected and shedding the bacteria in its urine.

Vaccination against leptospirosis

By far the best way to protect your dog from leptospirosis is to vaccinate.

Vaccination also helps prevent shedding of the bacteria in the animal’s urine. So it not only provides immunity for your pet, it also protects you and your family from potential exposure to the disease.

Vaccines against leptospirosis provide immunity from disease for one year, but that immunity is likely to wane rapidly thereafter. The vaccines can be given on their own but are also administered alongside other routine vaccinations as part of a regular booster regime.

How the disease is changing

Leptospirosis vaccines have been available for over five decades. Until recently, all of them targeted the two most common forms of the bacterium.

However, in recent years, across the UK, Europe and the USA, new varieties of leptospirosis have evolved and in many cases are even more prevalent than the original strains.

For this reason experts have recommended the use of vaccines which target four strains of the disease rather than the traditional two2.


If you’d like more information about the risks of leptospirosis and how to ensure your dog is adequately protected, please don’t hesitate to talk to your vet.

1. ADLER, B et al (2010), Leptospira and leptospirosis, Veterinary Microbiology, 140: 287-296
2. ELLIS, W.A. (2010) Control of canine leptospirosis in Europe: time for a change? Veterinary Record, 167: 602-605


A comprehensive guide to your rabbit’s health and welfare


Rabbits are easy to care for and make friendly, intelligent house pets. There are over 60 breeds of domestic rabbits and the average life span is 6-10 years, with a record age of 15 being reported. In general the medium and larger breeds live longer than the dwarf varieties. Like all pets they require proper healthcare and attention and when you make a decision to acquire a rabbit, you must view it as a long-term commitment.

Kennel Cough
A sound you'll never forget

Persistent, ‘honking’, retching, horribly unpleasant…Kennel cough can last for weeks, and can prove fatal in susceptible individuals.


It’s also the most widespread infectious disease of dogs in Britain today. And of the 65,000 dogs who were diagnosed with the condition last  year¹ , most had picked it up in parks, streets, classes, shows…in fact, all sorts of situations that had nothing whatsoever to do with kennels².

Is kennel cough a risk in my area?

Since 2008, UK vets have been sharing data to monitor the incidence and outbreaks of pet disease in the UK. It’s called the CICADA Survey, and you can see all its findings here.

This map from the survey shows the most recent data on Kennel Cough. As you can see, it remains widespread throughout the country.

Kennel cough

So is my dog protected against kennel cough?

Protection against kennel cough is NOT NORMALLY included in your pet’s routine annual vaccinations.

However, it can be added relatively easily – just a small drop of liquid applied to one nostril. This simple ‘intranasal’ vaccine only takes only seconds to administer, and yet it will protect your dog for at least a year.

And you don’t just catch it in kennels

Despite the name, most cases are NOT caught in kennels. On the contrary, your pet is more likely to encounter the disease in common circumstances such as:

  • The park
  • The street
  • At dog shows
  • In training classes
  • From next door’s pet…

What is kennel cough and what are the clinical signs?

Kennel cough – also known as infectious bronchitis – is a complex respiratory infection, caused mainly by a bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and the Parainfluenza virus.

Once your dog has been exposed to infection, it will generally take 5-7 days before signs of disease are seen. Kennel cough usually causes a dry, hacking cough, runny nose and sometimes sneezing. The gagging cough and retching associated with this disease are upsetting for your dog and you.

Depending on its severity, the signs of infection can last from a few days to several weeks. However, even after the coughing has stopped your dog can remain infectious for up to three months.

If my dog catches kennel cough, can I treat it?

Unfortunately, by the time your dog has started coughing, the disease will already have damaged its respiratory system.

Therapies such as anti-inflammatory drugs and cough suppressants are often only minimally effective and should only be used under strict veterinary supervision.

Kennel cough is caused by both bacteria and viruses, so antibiotics can sometimes help reduce disease severity. Often, though, they have little impact on symptoms.

As with any serious disease, prevention is always better than cure. Effective intranasal vaccines are available against the most significant causes and can be administered routinely alongside your pet’s normal annual boosters.

Further reading

Want to know more about kennel cough? Try these sites here:

Kennel Cough from The Pet Health Library >>

Kennel Cough >>

  1. Estimate based on 2009 CICADA UK Survey of pet diseases. Based on disease reported for the 9 months to Nov 2010.
  2. Telephone survey of UK vets, November 2009. Kennel cough is a complex with multiple causative factors. Vaccination against kennel cough can confer immunity against the most important pathogens, Bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus.


01332 873 357


M A Aldridge Ltd
60 Derby Rd
DE72 3NJ

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