A Twickenham vet has warned dog owners about the dangers posed to their four-legged friends in receding flood waters.
Christabel Moseley, owner of Twickenham Veterinary Surgery, warned all pet owners to be extra vigilant this spring.
Cases of severe vomiting and diarrhoea in domestic animals have been on the increase due to pets scavenging in flooded areas and drinking from contaminated puddles.
She said: “Having worked in this area for the past 14 years, I have always seen a large increase in the number of dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea after heavy rainfall.
“But since the bad weather started, we have seen an unusually high number of dogs with particularly severe gastroenteritis, many of whom have had to be hospitalised on intravenous fluids to help them recover.”
To minimise to risk of illness, she advises dog owners not to let their pets drink flood water and to stop them scavenging in such areas also.
Another disease dogs are likely to suffer from is leptospirosis, more commonly known as Weil’s disease, which dogs can be vaccinated against.
It is a bacterial infection that can be passed on to animals and humans through water that has become contaminated with infected rodent urine.
Ms Moseley said: “Although very few people and animals suffer from this life threatening disease, it is extremely important to take the necessary precautions.
“Ways you could protect your pet are by ensuring their vaccinations are up to date, avoiding contact with flooded water, and making sure any cuts or abrasions you or your pet may have are covered.
“This is a relatively uncommon disease, thanks to modern day vaccinations, but if you are concerned that your pet is suffering from Weil's disease you should contact your vet immediately.”
British Veterinary Association president and vet Robin Hargreaves said: “It is worth checking with your vet that you are up-to-date with all vaccinations.
“This will give your pet the best possible protection against diseases, such as leptospirosis, which can be spread through stagnant water.”