Vets have warned animal owners in flood-stricken areas to be aware of the new dangers posed by receding flood waters.
The water, which has flooded homes and land across the UK, is beginning to subside but the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is warning the danger to pets and livestock remains.
In areas where water has been contaminated by sewage, chemicals and other waste, farmers and pet owners will need to remain vigilant about potential health threats to their animals.
BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: “The terrible flooding has devastated many areas and it will be a huge relief for residents to see the waters subside.”
“Unfortunately, the challenges for animal owners remain, as contaminated water continues to pose a threat to pets and livestock.
“Pet owners should try to keep their animals from drinking contaminated water, as effluent and bacteria can be very harmful.
“Drinking clean water will give your pet the best possible protection against diseases, such as leptospirosis, which can be spread through stagnant water.
“Farmers need to consider the risks posed by contamination both to drinking water and feed for their livestock.
“Both silage and forage may have been contaminated by chemicals or waste and should not be fed to animals if they show signs of spoilage or mould.
“If alternative water or feed is not available it may be best to consider selling animals and reinvesting when conditions improve.”
Animal owners in affected areas should speak to their vet if they have concerns and check with their environmental health team, who should be in a position to advise on local levels of contamination, said the association.
For more information and advice from vets on animal welfare issues, visit the BVA website.