MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. - Dogs in the D.C. area are getting sick and throwing up.
Dr. Lawrence Bender with the Grove Center Veterinary Hospital located in Gaithersburg told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan on Wednesday that he is beginning to see more and more cases of dogs coming in with severe GI issues as the days become warmer.
He said that’s because more and more wildlife are coming out including geese, deer and rabbits that are producing fecal matter left on areas where dog owners would be taking their dog for a walk such as a grassy area or a walking path.
Many dog owners happened to be discussing the issue on social media specifically in the King Farm neighborhood of Rockville.
One dog owner described how her dog was either eating or nibbling on grass but didn’t know at the time that the dog could have also been eating some sort of fecal matter.
The social media user added that a few days went by and the dog began feeling very ill and started throwing up and having diarrhea.
She said she took her dog to Grove Center Veterinary where she learned that her dog could have eaten something like grass that had animal feces on it.
Many other dog owners chimed in on the same post describing the same scenario and experience.
Bender described that in such a case, the symptoms are not visible right away.
"Parasites have some what of an incubation period and it takes time from when the parasites penetrate into the body until they start causing issues," said Bender.
"It could be as little as 5 to 6 days or could be as much as three weeks down the road. It depends on the parasite and the parasite load and size and condition of the dog."
Bender said that different types of animals would carry and produce different types of parasites and in the DMV area the concern is about the wild life population.
"There are certain areas especially in this area where they are more prone to pick up intestinal parasites and those areas would be places where there are a lot of other animals around to seed the ground with those parasites and dog parks are classic for that."
Bender said, dog owners will have to be extra vigilant this time because dogs love eating cicadas.
He said cicadas aren’t terrible for dogs but could cause GI issues.
"Eating too many is going to cause an issue and that’s part of the sudden change in diet causing vomiting and diarrhea and eating a thousand cicadas is certainly going to do it."
Bender also said that while it is not recommended for all dogs some owners may use a caged muzzle to keep their dogs from getting into everything especially making a path where there could be wildlife depositing feces.