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What’s in the pond water? Water-borne parasites

Ever worry about what your pet could be contracting when he/she stops and drinks out of a pond or other stagnant body of water? Many water-borne parasites can cause clinical signs that are anywhere from mild to severe. The most common parasites include, but are not limited to:

Giardia: Giardia is a protozoan that can live for a long time in stagnant water. It causes diarrhea, which is often watery but not bloody. It can be hard to detect on a regular fecal float at your vet, and often further testing is required. It is shed intermittently in the feces, making detection that much harder. The most common treatments are fenbendazole and metronidazole. There is a vaccine for giardia that does not prevent the infection, but does prevent shedding of the protozoan — making it useful in kennel-type situations. Is it transmittable to humans? Yes, humans can be affected by drinking contaminated water.

Coccidia: Coccidia is a single-celled organism that is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, meaning that it is passed in the stool of the host and ingested by another host. The most common form of Coccidia Isospora is species-specific and therefore is not cross-transmitted. Coccidia causes watery, voluminous diarrhea, with or without blood. It is easily passed to young animals with weaker immune systems but rarely affects adults. It is usually detected on a fecal flotation, but a very small amount of Coccidia can cause an infection, so it can be missed on a fecal flotation. Coccidia is commonly treated with Albon or sulfa drugs. Can it be passed to humans? The most common form is species-specific, but humans can contract the Coccidia toxoplasma from cats, which can be a risk for pregnant women.

Leptospira: Leptospira is a spirochete bacteria that affects dogs and rarely cats. It thrives in warm, stagnant water such as a marsh or muddy area and is usually shed in the urine of wildlife or rodents. It initially causes a fever; then the fever subsides, and the clinical signs progress to liver damage and kidney failure. Leptospira can be detected by a blood test. Many dogs are vaccinated for Lepto as part of their annual checkup. The vaccine is specific for certain serovars or strains of Lepto, so it is still possible to contract Lepto after being vaccinated. The treatment for Leptospira is supportive care and antibiotics, but the prognosis is poor.

Campylobacter: Campylobacter is a bacteria often found in water contaminated with feces. It mostly affects puppies less than 6 months of age, and rarely affects cats. It is often isolated from the GI tract of normal adult dogs, but can overwhelm the system in puppies, causing a high fever and watery, mucoid or bloody diarrhea. The diagnosis is made on a fecal wet mount. Animals that are positive for campylobacter and have an associated high fever are treated with antibiotics.

Cryptosporidia: Cryptosporidia is a protozoa affecting both cats and puppies usually less than 6 months old. It is usually found in water contaminated with feces. It causes watery diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, gas and nausea. It is hard to detect on routine fecal flotation, and usually is detected by sending a fecal out to a lab that uses special flotation solution. The clinical signs are usually self-limiting and rarely require treatment other than a bland diet for three days. If the diarrhea is severe, occasionally IV fluids and supportive care are required.

The majority of the water-borne parasites cause diarrhea, which is treatable in a healthy animals. An immuno-compromised or otherwise debilitated animal might have more severe clinical signs. Among water-borne parasites, Leptosporidia carries the poorest prognosis if it advances to liver and or kidney failure. The best prevention is to make sure your dog is vaccinated, to carry fresh water for your dog, and to try to discourage them from drinking from stagnant water.

© 2010 Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital. All rights reserved.

84 Comments
  1. Pingback: Watch Tip: Contaminated Water « Sunbear Blog Squad

  2. Reply
    Juno McCoy

    I’m wondering if there is a test kit available (how to find one) to test for parasites in our fish pond that may be affecting the dog. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Great question. I have not found one yet, but you can certainly have your water tested for Giardia at your local agg coop or water testing center.

  3. Reply
    Broken Arrow Vets

    Since we can’t test all the waters, ponds or rivers in our community, it’s important that we ourselves should be the ones who must make the effort to take care and guard our pets whenever they go outside. For we will never know what’s out there that might harm them.

  4. Reply
    Lou G

    My son’s healthy pit bull died today after getting into some stagnant water on Christmas day. Soo sad… It destroyed his kidneys–and took him so fast! He was in vet hospital day after Cmas, but couldn’t save him. Please keep your pets away from stagnant water!!

  5. Reply
    Velma

    My puppy drank tap and now she can’t even get up she just fall over I worryed about her

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      TAKE HER TO A VET. Tap water does not do this. BE WORRIED>!!

  6. Reply
    Angi

    My mother got 2 new puppies, both are shepherds from supposedly a reputable breeder on 5/30. Apparently, when we got them home, we found that the 1 year old and the 8 month old both found out to have giardia and had been drinking well water, they also have chickens, horses, and are around them as well. The puppies also, as you know, eat their own feces. I was playing with the puppies like crazy and they were licking my face and I was playing with their paws etc and both were in need of a bath when we first got there. They both had diarrhea when they were brought home and still do but were supposedly given a clean bill of health from their vet which we are investigating.
    About 5 days later I got very ill with abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea and still have it 9 days later, very badly, including the fever which I’ve had all week. It’s been as high as 101.8. I went to the doctor and was told I had Campylobacter. The vet did not say the animals had this but I have not eaten in over week and have not been around poultry, raw meat or bad drinking water of any sorts, no ponds, lakes etc. Only the animals. I had been playing with them all week, the week before up until 6/and we did not know they were sick until Wednesday of last week, 6/9, and I went to the dr. 6/12. I let them know about the animals and although I don’t have giardia I have this other. I would assume Campylobacter would have shown up for the vets but they didn’t mention it. Could I still have gotten it from the dogs????
    No one else in my family is sick and we all eat the same foods and I have 2 young daughters and no one else has been around the dogs expect me my mother. My mother has been around them daily, however, she does not allow them to lick her on the face etc. I roll around on the ground with them and they do at times get their little tongues in my mouth. I wash my hands after I’m done playing with them, but by then, the damage is already been done. I’m now on an antibiotic as of today but trying to determine if this could have come from the dogs if I’ve not been around any raw meat etc. I saw the dr. yesterday and am unable to communicate with the dr. again today, just an MA, so cannot get these questions answered and wondered if anyone might be able to answer here or had experience with this. I don’t know of any other way of getting this other than through direct contact with the animals. Any thoughts, ideas??? Thanks in advance.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I really can not comment except to say that it sounds VERY suspicious of the dogs giving you this problem. Campy or giardia can cause your symptoms and the dogs could have had either or both. The dog can carry campy and not be very sick. It is very hard to test for sometimes so it can be easily missed. The giardia can mask the campy and the treatment for giardia can fix the campy. Soooo… it sounds like bad luck and bad habits (dont let new dogs lick your face or get close to their stool) but fixable. Good luck. Anyone else have a comment?

  7. Reply
    Cindy Sanderson

    so how do I treat our ponds so the dogs don’t get ill? They have been in the ponds for the last 7 years, this is first time we have had problems

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      no idea…anyone else?

      • Reply
        Bobby

        We use to use lime in stagnant ponds to keep cattle healthy and reduce disease and mosquitos. Would it be ok for dogs?

  8. Reply
    Karie

    can any of these parasites cause sterilization and/or reproductive problems. I am a GSD breeder and 6 of my females did not get pregnant which is unbelievable. I have well water and use carbon filters. I did test my water for iron, nitrates, etc., but no test for bacteria. We do have goats and chickens that are not too far from where the well is. Could run off into the well cause this to happen? we are stumped! is there something to “reboot” the girls systems? we are waiting to our vet but Im looking for other opinions .. Thanks

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Check the male, unlikely there is anything other than serious hormones that I can think of that would cause this. I assume you are not using hormones on the goats for milk? Check the male dog or you stumped me.

  9. Reply
    Janine

    We were @ a camp ground near the coast of Wa. It was hot & my husband & I were walking our shnorkies. My husband let 1 go to the water/inlet/pond? & the other dog wanted to go too. They both drank but I didn’t let Bear drink lots. He did get his feet & legs covered in mud/muck. I washed him off in a different area. That was yesterday. This aft he had diarea. (Am was norm) Once home (8 hr drive) he played chace as norm. I was hesitant but fed him dinner he apparently has diarea still. When should I take him to the vet if @ all??

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      If he ate dead fish (Salmon) then yes right away. If it was just sea water try a bland diet for a day for 2 then take him to a vet. If he starts vomiting or not eating and acting lethargic, then take him to a vet also. Try the bland diet and good otherwise. Good luck.

  10. Reply
    keith

    My dog is a diabetic and is on insulin twice a day some days she won’t eat but will drink a lot of water and then she is sick she does it 2or3 times all after each other.and she has very soft poos .is this pancrea

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      This is very specific and you need to ask your vet who is taking care of her. Sounds like she needs to have her blood sugar checked again, because this sounds like a blood sugar issue not pancreatitis.

  11. Reply
    Kerri

    My dog drank water out of his water dish that wasn’t changed in a couple days cuz we were gone and he got to it before I could go and change it when we got home. Now he’s coughing and breathing hard. It sounds like he has an upper respiratory infection. Could it be from that?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Very unlikely unless he vomited and aspired some….. You would much more likely see diarrhea if anything at all. This sounds like something else.

  12. Reply
    Barb

    My Springer swims in a reservoir and drinks water when picking up sticks I’ve thrown. A women said she got really sick from accidentally taking in water from same reservoir (a bacteria infection). My dog has been acting lethargic and sleeping lots, nose running, not normal playful self. Is there a test that can be given for sickness from “bad water”? His blood work early spring before swimming was fine. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Nothing other than blood work. The fist sign would be diarrhea and vomiting I would suspect. The water might be a red-herring for something else going on. I would repeat blood work and explain to the vet your concerns. I have never seen bad water do anything other than diarrhea, BUT there are certainly blue green algae issues and other things that can cause problems. I would ask your vet what is in the area.

  13. Reply
    Kristin

    I took my dogs to the doggie beach on the Gulf Coast. It was the bay side, so the water is a little stagnant, its also the side that at one point years ago was very polluted. They have been there before and not gotten sick, so I admit I was not as diligent with watching to see if they drank the sea water (read: I was extremely busy reading my magazine and praising the efforts of the city for ensuring my nearly 1 year olds would be exhausted). Both are hacking and sound congested. They intermittently throw up yellow liquid. BUT – they both are eating, drinking, playing and don’t have a fever. They don’t even throw up their food (totally), just a few little pieces that slip out with the yellow. . Could they just be working out the muck?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      It is possible. If they are eating well and otherwise fine you can give it time to see if it works its way out. If it gets worse or they cant keep food down or have diarrhea then you should see a vet. It might be very minor but you would not want to miss something more serious. Give it a day or 2 if they are just coughing and hacking a little.

  14. Reply
    Melissa

    Just wondering when people say clean fresh water for your dogs, what happens when your dog puts its feet in the bowl and digs it out which then dirties it daily. Is this water dangerous for the dog to drink? I have the bowl off the ground and they still dig. I can’t justify changing the water 10 times a day as I’m on tank water.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I think changing that water every day or 2x a day is as good as you can do. It always depends on what your dog has stepped in and where you live. If you live in a city or near construction, factories, salty places…. you need to change it more. Maybe invest in an automatic waterer? I suspect your dog will be just fine.

  15. Reply
    Lisa

    I took in a stray Jack Russell Beagle mix about 2 months ago. He has been fine until yesterday morning. He became vey lethargic and had diarrhea with one bought of vomiting which resulted in just a little mucus and water. He is licking ice cubes and drinking a little but refuses to eat. His bowel movements are very runny and muddy looking. He did get ahold of some cat poop in the litter box and may have drank from a puddle after it rained while walking him. He is no longer lethargic but he is sleeping a lot and still has diarrhea, I have not seen any blood in his poop. Should I take him to the vet or see if he is able to eat within the 12 hours?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I always recommend a vet visit. The vet can give you medication to make him less nauseous and his diarrhea go away faster. If you leave him he will possibly get better, but slower. He probably has a nasty GI upset and needs some medication to heal faster.

  16. Reply
    Deedee

    My american bully just drank some… apparently really old rain water from a bucket outside when i let her out this morning… i have a concern cause its literally black water. I have a pit thats almost 2 but shes on a lead wen we go out. So i brought her in and went to get ciera the am. Bully which is like 8 or 9 and i caught her. We are hear doing normal.. back in bed stuff. After lookibg all this up.. im getting uneasy….

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Worst case is usually diarrhea and vomiting. Bad water in America us usually not that bad. If you are in Asia, Africa or South America you might have bigger concerns.

  17. Reply
    Deedee

    Well thank u! We just came back from shopping and theres no signs of vomiting or diarrhea.. i got another one for u. Ok maybe 2… first… my bully…. she has a thing for munchin on her tail?! Second…. she has a small marble size bump on her chest… under the skin ni redness… she dont mess with it.. but u can def feel it… any ideas?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      See a vet for the marble size lump. Maybe nothing, maybe serious. Munching on her tail is usually anal glands or fleas. Have the vet check her anal glands too. Those are issues that need a vet to feel.

      • Reply
        Deedee

        Thank u doctor stewart!

  18. Reply
    Cindy

    I have a Jack Russel mini pin mix 3 weeks ago he had exploratory lap done bc of regurgitating nd vomiting the vet said the tube to his stomach was very tight so he widened it nd checked his kidneys nd so on there was nothing he still pukes everytime he drinks water this been going on for several months my vet ran all kinds of test still nothing no diseases no illnesses nothing but yet he continues to vomit his water up my vet said they are puzzled they don’t know what’s wrong nd my funds r running short can he drink something else that will not make him vomit

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I’m sorry but I have no more ideas except: 1) have you tried cerenia or other anti nausea medications and do they work? 2) do an endoscope down his throat and see what it looks like. I would visit a specialist for a final answer before i give up. Does he vomit food or just water. Very strange.

  19. Reply
    Jenny

    Dr.
    My 15 week old puppy had a regular stool at 3:00pm, a very loose stool at 6:00pm and it was brown water by 10pm. She
    puked up food that smelled sour at 11:30 and had brown water poo again at 2:30am. She doesn’t want to drink or eat……. It has been less than 12 hours. How long do I wait it out before I take her in to see the vet? The only thing I can think is she drank out of puddles at the dog park :s

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      That sounds like parvo and is a very serious emergency. Do not wait. Go straight to the vet and get a parvo check.

  20. Reply
    Jenny

    Even if she has had her her first and second shots? I got her to drink his morning and she seems to be her normal nippy self. Can they still be normal with parvovirus?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Yes she is susceptible after 2 shots, but not likely after 3 shots. Could be bad water, but why take the risk? If it is bad water then she will get better and get better faster with antibiotics, if it is parvo she will get worse without treatment.

  21. Reply
    Sarah bryan

    Could drinking pond water trigger epilepsy? My epileptic dog hasn’t had a seizure since our pond was drained. We’ve never found a trigger for it so I’m wondering if this is it or if it’s a coincidence?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      There might be pesticides and toxins in the water from run off, but the water itself should not have anything to do with seizures. Toxins or poisons might definitely be a problem…… time to get the water tested? Good luck.

  22. Reply
    Amanda

    Hi , both of my dogs drink water out of a spouting pipe on the side of the house that had water from the rain a couple days before now they both have diarrhea should I be worried and what should I do?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Possibly. If the diarrhea persists or they start to vomit or stop eating then they need to see a vet. If it resolves then it was just a temporary upset GI tract. Give it a day.

  23. Reply
    Cindy

    We are purchasing a home with a water feature in Denver, CO. It is a small waterfall with a pond…but the water will be moving and going through a filter and ionization. I have two Siberian Huskies and am not sure how I would keep them from drinking from this water feature..it takes up 1/2 the yard. The neighborhood does have raccoons, coyotes and foxes….that could drink from the water feature if they come over the six foot fence.

    Are there concerns for dogs drinking from this type of water feature that is moving water, filtered, ionization and chemical free?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I have no idea hw to keep them out of the water, but I would certainly try to filter the water or keep it clean. You need at ask your contractor about this or your local vet about regional diseases that they can get. I’m sure it will be fine, but better be safe than sorry. Just keep them well wormed and vaccinated and it should be ok.

  24. Reply
    Marilyy

    My dog drank out of a giant mud puddle and now she is sick wasn’t eating yesterday and barley ate today had to feed her human food and treats to keep her eating and she is just sleeping two days now. Is she gonna get better or worse no vomiting no diareah in fact I don’t believe she has gone yet…I am now reading about parasites but she has dean out of puddles before and been just fine.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Sounds like a re herring. Have her checked. The puddle might not be the cause at all. Unless there was something toxic in the puddle that should cause diarrhea or maybe vomiting only.

  25. Reply
    Simphiwe Zungu

    Dr Stewart I’m Simphiwe Zungu from Durban and I’m 18yrs old . I have discovered a dish that can help dogs drink their water during the day this dish protect the water from dust as we all know that when the is wind grass release it’s own seeds and they fly in the air unlit they reach down and what if they Land on your dog dish and the dog drink the water what will happen to your dog it might die or get sick. some other dishes are made from steel and we all know that steel is a good conductor for electricity and heat. the dog bowl/dish is always outside and in summer the is a lot of heat and the bowl will attract it because that are unlike charges. the water might get warm the dog won’t drink warm water or it might be evaporated and they will be no water left for the dog while you are not even home you at work so Dr I would appreciate you helping me build this dog tray here is my number 0630377024/0780748398

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Sorry, I dont think I can help you. Have you gone to the local vet school in S.A. They have a very good school there. You should make sure to patent the design first so no one steals your idea. God luck! Sounds promising!

  26. Reply
    Amanda

    My dog drank lots of b rakish water and is acting funny his eyes don’t look right and is vomiting any suggestions?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I’m sure his guts are upset with the dirty brackish water. Try giving him lots of fresh water and if he continues vomiting he needs to see a vet for fluids and anti-nausea medication. Multiple small bland meals are important too.

  27. Reply
    Kristy

    My brother emptied his dirty fish tank into the front yard where my small Pomeranians go outside should I be worried about what they could get since I know that is where’d they will go and smell as soon as they are let out?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Nothing to worry about.

  28. Reply
    Allison

    I took my two puppies to a pond one has diariah and isnt eating or drinking mich he is three months old my two month old also came she is still eating and drinking will this pass? I dont have money for a vet..

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      No idea. Why do you have 2 young puppies if you dont have enough money for a vet. They will need vaccines and dewormers and neutering…. It could be anything causing the diarrhea. It could be parvo, pond water infection (see the blog), worms, something minor…… If it continues or the other dog gets it you likely have parvo or another infections disease. That would be a big problem. I would contact the local SPCA or shelter and see if they can help with some of the medical treatment if this gets worse. Good luck.

  29. Reply
    Garry Smith

    My 10 week old puppy is happy, playful, lots of energy, but when he drinks water and not a lot because now I watch him, he’s a inside dog so I watch him drink, eat. I’ve notice when he drinks water a few minutes later he’s sneezing and spitting up water from his mouth and nose. So I don’t put much water in his bowl at one time, and now I have his water bowl sitting beside my chair so I can watch all the time. He’s still spitting and sneezing water and now when I take him outside to the bathroom and he’s trotting around I can hear splashing in his little belly, and then he gets sick again but it’s brown I guess from mixing with his food. Please give me a clue of what might be wrong, I’ve ask others about it and they have never heard of anything like this. He goes back to the vet next week for his boosters shots and I will tell them then or should I take him sooner. He’s a miniature Schnauzer, it’s just one mess after another, and it’s hot outside about 88 degrees but he’s only out there 30 min at a time. Thinks I hope you can help me.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      He might have a hole between his mouth and his nose? Can you see anything weird on roof of his mouth? I would take him to the vet sooner and really have them explore this. Aspiration pneumonia is a serious concern here and can be deadly. Please go to the vet as soon as possible.

  30. Reply
    Sharon West

    Hi Doctor – on Saturday we took our parsons Jack Russell to the beach – he chased his ball and played in the sea and then he drank a lot of water from his bowl when we got back to the car. He showed no signs of not being himself. Yesterday evening – 3 days later I took him to the woods and he played with his ball all the way round and then he went into stagnant smelly mud with his ball and I couldn’t get him out if it for 15mins roughly. He was pushing his ball into the sludge and so he will have eaten some of it. He was fine when I finally got him out of it and we got home and he slept for a while. I then let him out to go to the toilet before bed and he acted really strange – running fast and then sitting down very fast and he would not do his wee. This morning I have taken him for a short walk and he has gone to the toilet as usual with no diarrhoea but he is not himself. He is very lacklustre and quiet – he usually bounces about with his tennis ball. He dies not want his breakfast and now I have looked online I am worried he has been poisoned by either sea or stagnant water – shall I go to the vet?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      It sounds like something is obviously not right. He is not likely to be poisoned by the sea, as he was normal after that and he did not drink salt water in large doses (right?.) The stagnant mud could be a problem if he drank or ate a lot of it, but if he is not having diarrhea or vomiting then I would not suspect that either. If he is very lethargic then I always suggest a vet visit, but it might just be true exhaustion (busy few days for him.) If he is not vomiting or having diarrhea and is urinating normally, then I would not point at poison as fast as something else. Does he have a fever? Sorry I cant answer more, but if you are concerned then a vet visit is a good idea.

  31. Reply
    Leslie

    Can cats catch giardia from a dog? My dog has it and I hope 15 year old cat won’t catch it.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      If the cat comes into contact with the dog’s diarrhea or stool, yes. It is not very common but possible.

  32. Reply
    Amy Terrell

    I am so scared. My dog hasn’t eaten or drank water all day. When she pees, there’s thick blood that’s visible. We just got a urine specimen and it’s greenish brown and smells bad. She had a normal BM this morning. She’s a 2 1/2 yr old chocolate lab. She’s been laying around all day. I have an appt to take her to vet in morning. Plse help. She was swimming in river for first time 5 days ago and may have swallowed river water. Amy

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      My fist question would be is she spayed? If not then this could by a pyometra and very serious and she needs a vet ASAP. If she is spayed then she might have a serious urinary tract infection and although it is painful and can get very bad it could likely wait until the morning. Good luck!

  33. Reply
    Jennifer Harrington

    Hi there:
    I stayed in a rental home over the holiday weekend and we caught my youngest schnauzer drinking out of the dirty koi pond in the backyard. He is still eating and drinking normally and I haven’t noticed any diarrhea, although, he is coughing and hacking white foam. Could he have a form of kennel cough as he just had in April from his doggie day care or could it be something in the pond? I’ve called the vet and I’m waiting for a call back as to when I can bring him in.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Maybe he aspirated some of the pond water? Usually bad pond water would not cause coughing. Might be the kennel cough.

  34. Reply
    Heather R

    How about this one? Is it possible for a dog to get sick from hydrotherapy? I don’t know if they recycle the water but even if a sick dog was in the tank prior, it gets drained but not necessarily sterilized before the next dog. Possible?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Sure, I suppose bad water is bad water? They must add chlorine or filter it right?

  35. Reply
    Jessenia M

    Hi! I have a serious question. So my sister is taking care of a puppy until he’s trained and doesn’t poo and pee in the house but the puppy is having watery diarrhea.. The owner just got him a few days and today was the first day we took care of him. The puppy is eating, drinking water, playing, loves attention and sleeps a lot. Should I be concerned? His poo is a dark to normal brown and come out like a puddle. I didn’t see any blood either. Please help because I hope if he has something it’s not contagious because I have another dog that’s 7 years old.

    • Reply
      Jessenia M

      Okay so he is still pooing out liquids but this time I went right after he pooed and I think there were worms in there. were going to tell the owner to take him to the vet tomorrow but thanks anyway. His behavior changed in the few hours. He stopped eating, and drinking so we forced him to drink at least a little from a bottle and he’s been taking naps any time he can. He’s really thin but his tummy sticks out. I now think he just has tapeworms. If you think otherwise please advise me!

      • Reply
        Dr. Stewart

        Bring him to a vet! These can be serious or something much worse like Parvo or more serious worms.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I would certainly be worried about parvo or worms. Have him checked as soon as possible. If these two are negative then just upset stomach or stress. His vaccine status would be very important to know….did he get his 3 parvo shots?

  36. Reply
    Jessica Kurtz

    My 8 months old lab just drank a few slurps of water from an old planter at the neighbor’s filled with dirt and stagnent water that had greenish algae and smelled horrific (when she dumped it after this happened). I am super worried… what should I look for and when should I be concerned? And would feeding him some plain yogurt be helpful as a probiotic?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Should be just fine, watch for diarrhea and or vomiting then start bland food and if it gets worse see a vet. No yogurt, they are usually lactose intolerant and this is not ideal. Just bland food for a few days and watch for symptoms. SHould be fine.

  37. Reply
    Michelle

    We are spending the holiday in the forrest. During a hike my 2 yr old American bull great dane mix backed out of her leash and decided to go on a run. She ended up drinking a LOT of standing Brown water in the forrest. She has not had any symptoms yet and is sleeping…Likely because of her long hike and naughty little run. I’m worried about what she may contract as we are nowhere near a vet. What should I look for and at what point do we pack up and go home?

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Look for massive diarrhea and vomiting. If there is none you are probably fine. Start a bland diet as soon as you can to settle the stomach and see what happens.

  38. Reply
    Sally Liu

    Hi Dr. Stewart,
    I have a 12 year old golden retriever who takes Denamarin for high liver enzymes, and Soloxine for hypothyroidism. The vet thinks he may have Cushing Disease too ( pants heavily, drinks a ton of water and is losing hair by the tufts, pees a lot,) but I have been out of work for 4 months, and could only afford the urine test, which showed very dilute because of all the water he drinks. He has been off his feed a little in the past couple of weeks, but that seemed fixed by adding the Hills L/D Canned to the L/D Kibble. Yesterday I took him to the dog park here at the apartment, and then for a walk. WhenI opened the gate to the dog park he started drinking from a mud puddle from all the heavy rain, before I could close the gate and stop him from drinking anymore.

    I have also noticed this past week, when I told him to speak( for a piece of banana , (which he LOVES) that it seemed he couldn’t bark anymore, it sounded like he has laryngitis- very weak, raspy and hoarse. Last night he ate his dinner alright, but later was looking very sickly. Threw up twice, with a white froth mixed in with some undigested food. He refuses to eat anything this morning, even banana , which he has NEVER refused before. I am worried that either he picked up something from drinking the puddle water, or that he has a tumor due to the hypothyroidism or Cushing’s m, which is pressing against his larynx, making it uncomfortable to eat solid food. He will only drink water. He has difficulty standing up, possibly from Cushings muscle weakness, but he was able to go out on leash with me and down the two flights of stairs to pee and poop. No diarrhea. Very stiff and slow going up and down the stairs. I am wondering if I should try putting food in a blender? He seemed pretty happy and healthy up until yesterday afternoon. The 30 minute walk was too much for him, I realize now. I don’t know if he is still recovering from that, or if something else is going on. I have been out of work for 4 months, so do not have money left, but I don’t want him to suffer. I am debating if I should wait the not eating out, until tomorrow, and borrow money to take him to his regular vet, or should I take him to emergency vet today ( open till 4:00.) Thanks for any advice you have.
    Kind Tegards,
    Sally Liu

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Wow, sounds like a lot is going on. I would probably not rush to the ER right away if he is drinking water and able to walk up and down 2 flights of stairs to use the bathroom normally. I would be very worried about a throat mass, thyroid tumor, or something caught in his mouth. Are his teeth ok? Without seeing him it would be hard to tell exactly what is going on but Cushings sounds very possible and this would make him sick, lose weight, weak, hair loss….. However at 12 years old it could be anything. Heart disease, cancer and other immediate problems would be my first and biggest concerns. Have your vet take a look at him as soon as you can. The puddle water is not the problem, the fact that he was so thirsty that he had to drink it might be a symptom of his other problems. Sounds like he needs a good work up, but sadly you might not like what you find. Sorry.

  39. Reply
    Toni

    Hello, I have 3 dogs 13, 8 & 2 living on tank water all different sizes. The smallest one (8 year old) seams to get diarrhea more often plus her and the 2 year old tends to eats a lot of dirt and grass? Their water gets changed every couple days. The biggest one (13 year old) does not seem to bother with this. They all get fed the same.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      I guess the question is why? Maybe it has nothing to do with the water? Maybe the little one is more sensitive? Not sure there is enough information to make a determination. Sorry. Try bottled water on the little one for a month and see if it helps.

  40. Reply
    Sara Ann

    Dr. Stewart,
    I have a 1.5 yr old GSD who has been awfully I’ll for the last 5 days. He started with the commit spells and wouldn’t eat, not even his favorite food or chicken, or drink water. He lost all energy day 1. Day two still no eating and still vomitting throughout the day. We finally took him to the vet day three and he was given a shot to help his stomach and nausea. Day four still no eating or drinking, no energy, and no potty breaks at all. We took him back to the veg day four and he stayed all day. He received aggressive fluids and has blood tests and X-rays taken. All of his blood tests and X-rays came back normal. He was given two medications for stomach irritation and an antibiotic. Day five was thanksgiving. He did show more energy and he got his appetite back. He also peed a lot! He has been on a bland diet for two days but still no fecal potty breaks. Today is day six.. He still has what sounds like a horrible cough and very sticky saliva/drool. Today I also found a black squishy mass floating in his water. I clean his water bowl every time I fill it up (about every other day). I also swabbed the inside upper lip of his bowl and got some of what looks like the same black stuff on the q tips. I took his bowl away and gave him a fresh start. Could it be possible our vet missed something? Do you have any advise? I can’t handle him being sick anymore.
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      WOW, sounds terrible. Sounds very much like a foreign body or some kind of obstruction. I would try to find a vet that has a good ultrasound and skill with the ultrasound. It could be a partial obstruction or something that lodges and un lodges. With the blood tests being normal and the xrays normal, then it is a transient problem. You can ask about Addisons disease or other endocrine disorders. If you have a medicine specialist within 50 miles, this would be a good referral case for them. SOrry to hear about this but more xrays and a possible ‘dye” study to see if things are passing well would help. Ask your vet about barrium. They will understand.

  41. Reply
    Paulette leveille

    My dog drank rain water gone murky , she is 6 years old, was perfectly trained. Lots of holding power. Since then drinks much more than usual has a good appetite, not loosing any weight pies a lot and no restrain.

    • Reply
      Dr. Stewart

      Test her for a urinary tract infection. The rain water should not do this. Also older dogs do get incontinence issues and your vet can prescribe medications to try. Either UTI or incontinence would be my guess. Also, get her kidneys checked to be extra safe.

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