Watch Tip: Contaminated Water

Posted on October 2nd, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoWatch out for standing water—don’t let your dogs and cats drink it, especially young and baby pets or pets with compromised immune systems. Avoid puddles: antifreeze, ice melt chemicals, cleaners can poison your pet. Stay away from livestock tanks and buckets. Don’t let dogs swim in unknown ponds or streams. Be proactive and bring fresh water from home for both of you when visiting a dog park or hiking trail because algae, parasites and bacteria may be present.  Many of the same water-borne diseases affect people too.

Water can carry diseases that affect pets, domestic animals, wildlife, and people too!

Even when the water looks clean, don’t trust it. The cleanest streams tumbling down polished rocks can carry tiny protozoa like Giardia, Leptospira or Campylobacter, which infects companion animals, domestic animals, wildlife and people. These organisms may live for long periods in certain conditions. Many animals and people become carriers, never showing signs of illness while others get diarrhea and other symptoms, sometimes extreme.

Don’t trust water from wherever animals congregate, unless you have good reason to. Those invisible organisms find their way from old feces in the grass to running paws to water containers, and infected animals might never show a sign of illness. But the very young, old, or already-compromised cat or dog might become deathly ill or could develop dangerous complications.

Always wash your hands with soap after petting or handling unknown animals to reduce transmission of diseases to your pets or your human family. Be sure to disinfect your vehicle or home surfaces if you have rescued or helped a stray animal; a solution of tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water will likely kill those organisms on surfaces. Wash your clothes too!