Victims of the floods across Eastern Canada are being warned to protect their pets from floating debris and contaminated floodwaters.
Moncton veterinarian Brett Tremble said he has already treated several animals who have suffered flood-related injuries or have fallen ill in the last week.
“We have seen several different pets that have either stepped on something they shouldn’t have and gotten nails in their feet or they have gotten their foot stuck in boards,” said Tremble.
He said that dogs, in particular, are susceptible to gastrointestinal infections after coming into contact with floodwater that could be contaminated with fecal matter, furnace oil and a host of harmful bacteria.
“They are either eating something off the ground that has floated up or just from Cryptosporidium or Giardia that is in the water,” said Tremble, who added that stressful events surrounding a flood can also impact pets.
Tremble said that dogs can typically handle the stress of an evacuation, but cats don’t like upheaval and may need a mild sedative when removed from the home.
For the second year in a row, the exhibition grounds in Fredericton have opened their doors to take in horses and farm animals impacted by the flood.
Tremble said it’s a kind gesture given the health risks.
“With our horse population, standing in the wet, soggy ground has led to a lot of cases of foot rot, foot abscesses, and obviously, there are concerns with them eating things they shouldn’t as well,” he said.
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Waters are starting to recede in some areas and some people, along with their animals, will soon be returning home.
Tremble has advice for pet owners as they begin the daunting task of cleaning up.
“You want to definitely go around and pick up everything that you can. At the same time, standing water is going to take some time to evaporate and clean itself up so keeping your dogs on a leash and keeping your outdoor pets indoors, for the time being, is a very safe thing to do,” he said.