The current wet weather and flooding can put dogs at risk of catching the potential deadly disease of Leptospirosis, vets have warned.
The disease is carried by rodents and passed on via an infected animal’s urine or contaminated water.
It can infect humans as well as dogs and can prove fatal for both.
Philip Hanlon from the Milton Keynes Veterinary Group said: “This risk is currently heightened due to the recent widespread wet weather and flooding, and extra precautions are being advised...Almost any dog that goes outside is at risk.
Early diagnosis can be complicated due to symptoms being vague, say vets.
As the disease progresses, symptoms include stiffness, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.
Following infection some dogs become long-term carriers that, while appearing healthy, can put others at risk.
Like Parvovirus, the disease can be prevented by vaccination. In recent years, more strains of Leptospirosis have appeared so veterinary
practices are now using new vaccines that are available, providing higher levels of protection.
These vaccines also helps to protect the local dog population and environment by preventing the spread of this disease via dogs’ urine.
Mr Hanlon said: “Vaccination is the only way to protect your dog from serious diseases like parvovirus and leptospirosis, as well as distemper, hepatitis and parainfluenza. Many of these diseases are sadly still around and are very difficult to treat and often fatal, so prevention through vaccination is vital.
“Nationally outbreaks of these diseases are seen that could easily have been prevented by vaccination, so we would urge local dog owners to speak to their vet about vaccination.”