Muddy walks can be bad for your dog’s health, but not if you wash and check
It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that our normally dry county has had more than its fair share of rain this Autumn and our hearts go out to the people who have been hit by the floods – whether it be their home or business. It has been especially tough on farmland that is used as a flood plain to protect more populated parts of the county, as well as destroying crops the wildlife has also taken a massive hit.
The regular dog walking routes in many places have been cut off from many of us unless you and your pooch don’t mind getting wet and muddy. It can be great fun splashing around so long as there is somewhere to get rinsed off before you get in to the house or car and of course, plenty of warm dry towels ready to stop you all from getting cold.
But it’s not just about being clean and dry. It’s also about good pet hygiene so they don’t pick up any nasty water born or mud born problems – wash and check. The most frightening infection, although thankfully not common, is Alabama Rot which is most prevalent from November to May when conditions are most likely to favour its development. Nobody really knows the cause but in the UK it tends to be associated with walking in muddy and woodland areas, it is thought to be associated with the bacteria known as E-Coli. Lesions or ulcers on your pet’s skin are the first signs so it is important to regularly check your pet, especially if you have walked in mud and/or woodland. The symptoms are generally found on paws, lower parts of the legs and body as well as the face, mouth and tongue – no doubt picked up when inspecting a particularly interesting scent. It does not respect breed, size or age.
The next stage of the infection is blood clotting that damages the delicate vessels and lining of the kidneys, this can lead to kidney failure. Early diagnosis is critical to a full recovery so if you spot anything untoward get to your vet quickly as the disease progresses to the kidneys in anything from three to ten days.
Unfortunately there is no vaccination against this infection but good hygiene after walks may help. There have been cases in Lincolnshire and nearby areas Vets4Pets have produced a useful map for tracking the disease. It is still not clear if it can be passed between dogs, however it does not seem to affect cats.
So, wash and check!
Photo courtesy of Yellowbelly Photography