Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Water Worries
South Florida's heavy rainfall could be putting our animals in danger. There's a little known disease living in standing water that can kill them. Here's Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel with today's protecting your pet.
(WSVN) -- Water - water everywhere - but animal owners beware.
Herb Gross, Noodle's dad: "His kidneys and liver shutdown. There was only a 10-percent chance he would be alive the next day."
Noodle went from a playful pooch to deathly ill and on dialysis.
Herb Gross: "I just cried. I cried -- because the dog is part of the family."
It happened to Quincy too.
Tom Rennicks, Quincy's dad: "This just came totally out of the blue -- fine one day, the next she was on the verge of death."
Both dogs picked up a potentially deadly bacteria.
Usually from drinking or playing in contaminated water like a puddle - or even from eating grass.
It's spread through the urine of infected wild animals.
The illness can show up a few days later or even a month after exposure.
Veterinarian Dr. Mary Labato: "We are seeing more dogs with it -- the most common times of year are the late summer, early fall or spring."
People can get infected too - the largest outbreak occurred in Illinois after a group of tri-athletes went swimming in a lake.
Veterinarian Fred Canter DVN: "The symptoms that occur in people are generally a flu-like illness. Rare smaller groups of people will have liver and kidney problems."
In animals -- the first signs can be subtle -- a dog not acting like himself -- increased thirst or lack of appetite.
Dr. Mary Labato: "Then very rapidly they can become much more ill and have more avert signs of kidney failure -- like a decrease in urine production, severe vomiting, lethargy."
The younger the animal the harder the disease can hit - the good news - treatment is available.
Antibiotics do the trick. In severe cases -- dialysis is needed.
A vaccine is available but it only guards against four strains -- there are 200.
So protect your pet by keeping them away from outdoor water.
Herb Gross: "He's amazing -- He's terrific."
Thanks to good care, Noodle and Quincy are on the mend.
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