Doc Sez "Where are the oars?"
So, out at the old (old, old) Doc homestead, Doc and Mrs. Doc have been dealing with water; a lot of water. The recent rains and flooding have left Doc on the Iola side of an impassable waterway, while Mrs. Doc has been marooned on a not particularly tropical paradise island, with four dogs, one impossible cat and innumerable bugs, pests and snakes. (stop and sing a chorus of “the Good Old Summertime” here… OK moving on) Now that it appears that some of the floodwater is receding and we may see the sun again, pet and livestock owners have some specific hazards associated with wet, muddy ground and standing water to be aware of.
Flood water may contain contaminants that are toxic to animals. Motor oil, crude oil, pesticides and lawn/field chemicals can become concentrated as water drains and evaporates and may be very toxic if drank of licked from feet. Leptospirosis is a serious, frequently fatal, disease spread when animals (dogs and cattle) drink water contaminated by the lepto bacteria or through any wounds that come in contact with the water. Lepto is also zoonotic, meaning humans may contract it too. Do not wade or otherwise contact standing water. Parvovirus also will be more common as the virus is washed from location to location. Dogs should be vaccinated each year for lepto and parvo, and again, do not let your animals drink standing water. Bacteria also love wet and warm areas and the water is full of bacteria. Livestock left standing in water or mud are at risk for abscess and other foot problems. Dogs kenneled in wet areas may exhibit an increase of “pododermatitis” which is an infection of the area between the pads and of the nail beds. Signs would be lameness and licking/chewing on feet. All animal’s skin may develop infections if the coat is not allowed to dry completely. Rain Rot in horses is especially prevalent after rainy, humid conditions. In dogs, we will see skin infections and maggot infestations if care is not taken to keep coats and skin dry.
Standing water is the source of many diseases and parasites. Giardia, a protozoan parasite, is common to cattle, dogs/cats and humans drinking from contaminated water, resulting in diarrhea. Treatment is required to clear giardia; get thee to the vet. If animal feed was not kept dry, be aware of the possibility of mold growth and destroy the moldy feed. There will be an increase in mosquito and biting flies. Mosquitoes carry heartworm larvae that will infect dogs and cats (keep your pets heartworm preventive up-to-date monthly). West Nile virus will become more prevalent (vx your horses). Flies, especially biting flies, will make cattle, horses and dogs with erect or semi-erect ears, absolutely miserable. Sprays and balms should be applied once or twice daily according to instructions to repel the flies and lessen the number of bites. Cattle may develop pinkeye at an increased rate (yes, there are vaccines that may help). Keep an eye on livestock environments and be aware of the signs of nitrate (grass tetany) poisoning from rapid, lush growth of grass, algal blooms in ponds rendering them undrinkable and mushrooms that pop up overnight and may be toxic if ingested (dogs, too). As flood waters recede the fish and trash left behind become attractants for wildlife and pets. Try to keep your dog from eating carrion (dead fish or animals) and making contact with coyotes.
The animal health conditions associated with post-rain and flood conditions can be extreme and serious. Mrs. Doc is glad to see Doc returning to the homestead through the puddles and in the sunshine.