Decisive action by owners of a much-loved Labrador and the swift intervention of a Somerset veterinary hospital have seen him recover from a potentially-fatal disease. Two-year-old Pablo started showing signs of leptospirosis when he was constantly being sick and refusing to eat, despite being vaccinated against the condition.

Leptospirosis is an infection which can make dogs seriously ill and also be passed on to humans as Weil’s disease. The disease is carried by rats so areas where there is standing water, such as farmland, stables and ponds in the park, can all be high-risk. Owner Kate Battersby, who lives in St Austell in Cornwall, quickly realised that something was very wrong with Pablo and took him to her local vet, who suspected it might be leptospirosis.

They immediately referred him to the team at Linnaeus-owned Cave Veterinary Specialists, near Wellington, which was a two-hour drive away. Kate said: “I was distraught and so worried but knew I just had to get there as quickly as I could as he was going to the best place possible.

“The chance of him not surviving hadn’t previously crossed my mind, so I was very concerned. However, everyone at Cave was amazing and they saved Pablo’s life. He’s made a full recovery, swimming, running, walking and playing with his ball. ”

Pablo was in the vet hospital for 10 days
Pablo was in the vet hospital for 10 days (Cave Veterinary Specialists)

Dog owners can protect both their pets and themselves by keeping annual booster vaccinations up-to-date and while vaccinated dogs, such as Pablo, can still get infected, the risk of acquiring the infection is significantly less.

Symptoms of leptospirosis in dogs may include fever, jaundice, muscle pain, limping, weakness and collapse. They may vomit, have less of an appetite and drink more.

Adam Swallow, internal medicine specialist at Cave, said: “Pablo remained hospitalised at Cave for 10 days. Happily, his condition responded well to treatment and he continues to do well at home.”

Speaking about the dangers of leptospirosis, Adam added: “If a pet owner suspects their dog has contracted leptospirosis then early veterinary intervention is crucial.”

“Prompt action by Pablo’s owners, and local veterinary practice, greatly increased his chance of survival and while he was subjected to intense treatment, he did eventually pull through.”

Cave offers comprehensive, specialist-led services in anaesthesia, cardiology, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, orthopaedic surgery and soft tissue surgery.