Owner awareness and knowledge of canine leptospirosis as a zoonotic disease in Morogoro, Tanzania
Background: Leptospirosis is a neglected disease of worldwide distribution, affecting both human and animals caused by infection with pathogenic species of the genus Leptospira. This study was carried out to determine the awareness of canine leptospirosis among dog keeping communities in Morogoro, Tanzania.
Methods: Awareness among dog owners for canine leptospirosis was assessed using semi-structured questionnaire among randomly chosen dog owners in Morogoro, Tanzania. Information sought from the dog owners included: awareness of dog diseases in general and specifically canine leptospirosis; clinical signs, transmission, treatment, prevention, and awareness that canine leptospirosis is zoonotic.
Results: A total of 124 dog owners participated in the study. Of these, 90% were not aware of the existence of canine leptospirosis. Fifteen percent of the participants were not aware that dogs could get disease. The majority of the respondents (98.4%; n=122) did not know the clinical signs of leptospirosis in dogs. The few (1.6%) who knew mentioned jaundice, bloody diarrhoea, blood in urine, loss of appetite and vomiting as the clinical signs of leptospirosis in dogs. None of the respondents knew how canine leptospirosis is treated, or that the disease is a health risk to humans. Only one respondent (0.8%) knew that the control of canine leptospirosis could be achieved through vaccination.
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate there is little awareness of canine leptospirosis and its potential public health risk among dog owners in Morogoro, Tanzania. The findings of this study indicate the need to raise awareness of the disease among the dog owners and the general population.