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Canine leptospirosis is perceived to be underdiagnosed due to non-specific clinical signs (Prescott and others 1991, Sarkar and others 2012). In the UK, it is routinely diagnosed by serological testing via the microscopic agglutination test (Faine and others 1999), or immunofluorescent antibody test (Torten and others 1966, Appassakij and others 1995, Naigowit and others 2000). More recently, several PCR assays have been published for diagnosing suspected leptospirosis (Ahmed and others 2012, Picardeau 2013).
Close vicinity, or frequent contact with water or woodland, put canines at higher risk of contracting leptospirosis (Tangkanakul and others 2000, Ward and others 2004, Meeyam and others 2006, Raghavan and others 2012), as asymptomatic shedding from rodent reservoirs contribute to environmental loading of Leptospira.
This study aimed to investigate perceived and confirmed canine leptospirosis cases within UK vet-visiting dogs, along with details regarding vaccination habits, by surveying small animal veterinary practices.
A questionnaire survey targeted 472 practices randomly chosen from 23 stratified mainland UK regions (see online supplementary material for full questionnaire and covering letter). One vet per practice was targeted and sent reminder cards (with repeat questionnaires) two weeks following initial contact.
Suspected or confirmed cases within the past 12 months were investigated, including the last date a practice witnessed a case. To establish practice, vaccination habits, the number of Leptospira vaccine doses administered over the same 12 months, and estimation of what percentage of their case load were currently vaccinated was surveyed. Practice size was determined …