CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Following the flooding, many pet owners are noticing their dogs aren't feeling very good. Veterinarians across the Lowcountry are reporting that dogs are catching a contagious cough.
"It's contagious enough that I'm willing to say that walking your dog around the neighborhood can expose your dog," said Dr. Brooke Hardymon, Bees Ferry Veterinarian Hospital.
Dr. Hardymon says the most common symptom of this upper respiratory infection is a hacking, harsh cough.
Dr. Hardymon says it can take anywhere between two to 14 days for symptoms to show up after a dog has been exposed.
The severity of the infection depend on how healthy the dog is and which organisms they were exposed to, according to Dr. Hardymon.
To treat the cough, many vets are prescribing a cough suppressant and antibiotic to kill the bacteria.
Dr. Hardymon says if the cough is left untreated, it can be dangerous.
"In dogs, especially older or young dogs, or dogs who are are exposed to the more nasty critters that caused this virus, they can develop life threatening pneumonia," said Dr. Hardymon.
This nasty cough isn't the only thing wreaking havoc on mans best friend, after the flood.
"We've also been seeing a lot of GI problems, so stomachs upset, some of these nasty little critters that live in stagnant water that these dogs, and even cats, are exposed to," said Dr. Hardymon.
The symptoms for this are diarrhea, loss of appetite and sometimes even vomiting.
"I think there's a lot of things we need to be made aware of with the flood waters and how they relate to our pets," said Dr. Hardymon.
Dr. Hardymon says dog owners need to continue to keep their pets of the flood water, because it's still contaminated.
Now that the water has gone down in some areas, doesn't been the germs are gone too.
"I think as far as toys or other items that have been heavily exposed to these flood water, for me, I would just get rid of them," said Dr. Hardymon.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from this cough or a stomach bug - it's best to take your pet to the vet.