RSPCA Offers Free Vaccinations For Dogs After 'Rat Disease' Outbreak

The RSPCA is offering free vaccines after a spate of dog poisonings in Sydney.

The vaccine is for the disease leptospirosis (C2i), which is typically transmitted by rats through their infected urine and tissue.

The RSPCA is concerned after a number of dogs in Sydney's inner city and inner west have become infected with the disease recently.

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The vaccination will be offered free with every annual or triannual vaccination, or a for a reduced fee of $30 if wanted on its own, at the RSPCA Sydney Veterinary Hospital.

Pet owners can claim their vaccinations between July 27 and August 31.

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The bacteria, leptospira, which causes the disease prefers moist, warm environments or stagnant areas of water, such as ponds.

Dogs can become "incidental hosts" if food, water or bedding comes into contact with infected surfaces, the RSPCA said.

Contamination can also occur through contact with gums, abrasions or broken skin.

It can take approximately seven days for symptoms to appear, which include vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea.

The RSPCA also warns the disease can be transmitted to humans.

"Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection and is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmissible between animals and to humans," it said.

The RSPCA warns there is no current vaccination for cats, and advises cat owners in affected areas keep their pets indoors.