CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The rain the rest of this week isn’t doing much to help concerns in South End involving several reports of dogs getting sick.
The parasite experts say is responsible, giardia, is something veterinarians say can be found in a rain puddle your dog may stop to take a few licks from.
“When you have a lot of dogs in one area, that’s an incubator waiting to happen. It only takes one dog," said Dr. Thomas Watson with Carolinas Veterinary Medical Hospital.
Whether it’s sniffing, playing ball or just walking through a puddle, dogs can spread the giardia parasite between each other fairly quickly. Veterinarians say the parasite can enter the dogs intestinal track and cause an upset stomach, more frequent trips to the bathroom and loose stool.
Dog owners in South End have reportedly seen an increase in giardia cases. The area has a high concentration of apartment complexes with dog parks.
“One dog has a bowel movement, they pass those giardia,” said Dr. Watson. "Once they’re there, the next dog goes around, even after the owner did a good job cleaning up. The dog wants to go down there and walk through where the dog went and that’s how they get it.”
Veterinarians say the first thing all pet owners should do to stop the spread of the parasite is clean up after your pet. The second thing is to have your dogs avoid drinking from puddles and any public dog bowl. They warn that this week’s rainy weather will help any kind of parasite of infection to transfer from one spot to the next very easily.
If you have to bring your dog somewhere public, Watson says to bring your own water for your pet.
“It often lives in bodies of water. It can be in a puddle it can be in a stream. If people don’t’ clean up after their dogs, it rains, it dissipates and spreads a little bit and goes in all different directions," said Watson.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Control said they responded to an apartment address in South End for several complaints of dogs getting sick. They say the biggest thing to do is to clean up after your pet and encourage others to do the same.
If you think your dog is sick, get them to a veterinarian’s office quickly. Although giardia is usually not fatal, the dog will have to go on an antibiotic. If not caught quickly enough, your dog could be at risk for severe hydration. Veterinarians say the medicine is reasonably priced.
Humans can be infected with giardia as well but it’s difficult for a dog to pass it to a human. Veterinarians warn to thoroughly wash your hands after picking up your dog’s waste because the only way it can spread it from fecal matter to your mouth.