NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As rain showers tapered off Tuesday evening, a local veterinarian says what's left behind could pose a serious health threat to our furry family members.
North Myrtle Beach Veterinarian, John Soileau, with the Banfield Pet Hospital, said pets are more susceptible to contract diseases by drinking the standing water left over from the day's rain. He says some diseases could even spread from pets to humans.
The ponds, puddles, and standing water areas after the rain can be tempting for our furry friends while on a walk in the park or out at play, but Soileau explains those puddles can carry harmful bacteria diseases. "Two big contagious diseases that come to mind are called Giardia and Leptospirosis is also one, both are most commonly transmitted through standing water, you know rain water, ponds, puddles," Soileau said.
Soileau said his hospital will see the number cases involving these diseases rise when we see rain in our forecast. "In the past couple of months, I've seen several cases of Giardia, as well as one case of Leptospirosis confirmed," Soileau said.
The symptoms for both diseases include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anorexia. Soileau said Giardia can affect your pet's digestive system, while Leptospirosis will often attack the kidney and liver of dogs and cats, but he adds both are treatable with the proper vaccine and antibiotics.
He says it is extremely important for pet owners to seek treatment for their pets as soon as they see signs of the symptoms.
"We do worry about them," Soileau said. "Both of [the diseases] actually have the potential to be transmitted to humans, it is what we call a zoonotic disease, meaning they can go from dogs and cats to humans. So that's the big one that we really worry about and really its the most common ones we see in the standing water."
Soileau recommends pet owners protect their furry family members and themselves by watching their pets when outdoors, and by trying to keep them on a leash as much as possible. "Pay attention to them when you are out for a walk, or at the dog park, or outside try not to let them drink out of those standing bodies of water," he stressed.
Remember you don't have to keep your furry buddy cooped up inside to keep them away from puddle temptation but, if they do manage to get a sip of stagnant water, monitor their behavior.
Soileau said, "If your dog drinks from a puddle, we just want to keep an eye on it, it doesn't mean every dog that drinks from standing water is going to contract one of these diseases, but the potential is there."