Can dogs get diseases from rats?

Keep your dog on a lead

The fatal bacterial infection is spread by rats and other rodents. Dogs can become infected by direct contact (from a rat bite or from eating a rat) and indirect contact (drinking urine-contaminated water or licking contaminated soil).”

Rats have long been known to carry a variety of diseases and parasites, some of which are potentially dangerous to humans and other species. While many of us are aware of the potential danger these animals can pose, we may not be as familiar with the risk they pose to our canine companions. Can dogs get diseases from rats? This question is one that many pet owners may wonder about, and it’s important to understand the potential risks to be able to keep your furry family members safe. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the potential for dogs to contract diseases from rats, potential symptoms and treatments, and how to protect your pet from coming into contact with vermin.

What is leptospirosis and how do dogs catch it from rats?

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease and one of more than 50 rat-borne diseases which also include hantavirus, e.coli and salmonella. In humans, it mimics many of the symptoms of the flu. And while rat-borne leptospirosis did kill at least one person in New York in 2017, it is not easily transmitted to people, and rarely fatal to humans in the Northern Hemisphere, as it’s far more common in tropical areas.

However, it has grown more hazardous for dogs, who can catch the illness by coming into contact with contaminated rat urine on the ground or in a puddle. Dogs may lick their feet after stepping in urine on the ground or drinking it.

With assistance from Merck Animal Health, which produces a vaccine, Natalie Marks, a veterinarian at Blum Animal Hospital in Lakeview, said, “It’s a very big concern.” “Up to 90% of urban rats can carry leptospirosis, so I advise clients to assume there is lepto until proven otherwise if they see a rat,” ‘”.

Up to 90% of city rats, according to Natalie Marks, a veterinarian at Blum Animal Hospital in Lakeview, can carry leptospirosis.

Rebecca Fyffe, Landmark Pest Management’s director of research, frequently hears from locals who have discovered leptospirosis the hard way.

“People with dogs infected with leptospirosis have called us frequently this year and last year,” she said.

Many of the cases were mild, but some were severe or fatal, according to Fyffe.

In Sydney’s inner west and city so far in 2019, there have been at least six confirmed cases of canine leptospirosis, with three occurring in May and June. Five of the six dogs died.

Rodents and other animals can spread the Leptospira bacteria that causes leptospirosis to humans and other animals.

Humans can get infected by rodents in addition to being exposed to bacteria from their infected pets’ urine. A rat bite can cause this directly or indirectly if a wound is exposed to water or soil that has rat urine in it. The bacteria can also spread through consuming contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Acute kidney failure, liver damage, jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin), uveitis (an inflammation of the eyes), bleeding, and in extreme cases bleeding into the lungs can cause breathing problems in severely affected dogs. Vasculitis, which damages blood vessels, leads to these clinical symptoms, which harm organ blood supply.

Recently reported cases of the often fatal bacterial infection leptospirosis in dogs in Sydney have raised the issue of animal diseases that also affect humans.

Can humans be harmed from contact with infected pets?

Each year, the US reports more than 1 million cases of toxoplasmosis in humans. Toxoplasma protozoans can infect people if they consume raw oysters, unwashed fruits, or undercooked meat, among other things. Cats that live indoors and outdoors may contract the protozoan from people who clean their litter boxes.

The condition known as toxoplasmosis may manifest in humans who are infected with Toxoplasma protozoans. Toxoplasmosis is generally asymptomatic in healthy humans. However, flu-like symptoms could appear, and in adults and children with compromised immune systems, more severe symptoms could manifest. Pregnant women are advised not to handle cat feces because toxoplasmosis, which is caused by Toxoplasma protozoans, can cause complications during pregnancy. According to Jones et al., there is currently no vaccine in use to prevent toxoplasmosis in cats and humans. 2014).

More information on toxoplasmosis can be found from the American Veterinary Medicine Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rodents and birds may be infected with roundworms (Toxocara spp. ). A pet may contract an infection if it consumes an infected animal. Roundworms can cause intestinal issues in dogs and cats. Symptoms include diarrhea, distended round belly, etc. According to some studies, Toxoplasma protozoans infection in dogs and cats increases their risk of contracting roundworms (e g. , Jones et al. 2008). If you believe your pet has been exposed to roundworms, you should speak with your veterinarian. To help prevent and/or treat infections with various types of worms in pets, a number of medications can be given (under the guidance of your veterinarian).

Roundworms can be passed to humans. Numerous symptoms, such as fever, headache, rash, digestive problems, vision loss, and others, may be seen in people who have the disease (toxocariasis) brought on by these worms (MacPherson 2013). Depending on the circumstances of each case, medical and/or veterinary professionals may choose from a variety of anti-worm treatments.

Outdoor pets will almost certainly always be exposed to rodents and any potential associated pathogens. However, pest control specialists can assist in creating plans for surveillance and prevention to reduce rodent populations, thus reducing this rodent-pet interaction.

Toxoplasma gondii and Toxocara spp., Jones JL, Kruszon-Moran D, Won K, Wilson M, Schantz PM (2008) co-infection. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 78: 35-39.

Neglected parasitic infections in the United States: Toxoplasmosis, Jones JL, Parise ME, Fiore AE (2014) American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 90: 794-799.

The epidemiology and public health significance of toxocariasis: A zoonosis of global importance, according to Macpherson CN (2013) International Journal of Parasitology 43: 999-1008.

Not sure what your home needs? Let us help.

Or browse more pests Browse pests


Can dogs get sick from rat poop?

Rats can easily infect your cat or dog with a number of very nasty diseases. Rat urine and droppings contain germs and diseases that can contaminate pet food and water sources.

Can rats spread leptospirosis to dogs?

Keep rodent infestations (rats, mice, or other animal pests) under control to help prevent Leptospirosis infection. The bacteria that causes this disease can be carried and spread by rodents.

What are the signs of leptospirosis in dogs?

Signs and Symptoms in Pets
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Refusal to eat.
  • Severe weakness and depression.
  • Stiffness.
  • Severe muscle pain.

What diseases can dogs get from rat poop?

Your dog may have come into contact with contaminated urine while sniffing around in the solid waste of rats, which can cause leptospirosis in dogs. Lepto is potentially fatal and transmittable to humans, but it is not common everywhere, so your location affects your risk.