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Utahns concerned runoff water is making their dogs sick

Posted at 10:13 PM, May 30, 2023

MIDVALE, Utah — At the beginning of the month, Bill and Marnae Hammond’s dog Ricki got sick.

"It was a seven-day period that he was throwing up and just explosive diarrhea, which is atypical," said Bill.

Within days, their other dogs, Eddie and Lucy, started showing the same symptoms.

“We don't take them to rivers and let them run and play," said Bill. "They basically are in our house and walking up and down 700 East. That's their activity.”

The Midvale residents started thinking that maybe all the spring runoff is affecting their tap water; the dogs’ diets have not changed, and they haven’t been in any public parks or taken off-leash.

“That's the only thing that leads us to believe that there's something in the water," said Bill. "Neighbors in the Fort Union area, people that have said they experienced the same thing.”

Spring runoff water is not usually safe for dogs to drink straight from the creeks, according to Dr. Matt Bellman, a veterinarian and the owner of Pet Stop Veterinary Clinic.

“Every spring, we see gastrointestinal problems with dogs, and they do like to get into a lot of things and it's really best to make sure your dog is on a leash," he said. "If you are out boating or hiking, try to bring your dog some fresh water with you.”

This time of the year, it’s always a good idea to keep an extra-close eye on pets, Bellman said.

“Trying to keep them away from the obvious algae that's dry and crusty and has a very loud blue and green color to it, because it can cause fatal liver disease and kidney failure," he said. "And there's little you can do about it.”

Although the veterinarian isn’t sure how the runoff could be contributing to the quality of tap water, Bill says the Hammond's dogs got healthier once they switched them to bottled water.

“There's been a lot of chatter about fresh things being washed down out of the mountains," he said. "Maybe some of those things are not harmful to humans and the dogs were susceptible.”