In 2014 the water source for Flint, Michigan, was switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River, and since then local residents have been using contaminated water with unsafe levels of salt, bacteria and lead to drink, cook and bathe in. Now local children are not the only ones suffering the consequences of lead poising – dogs are, too.
According to an NBC report authorities have confirmed two dogs from the Flint area have tested positive for lead poisoning. Experts now urge pet owners to stop giving their four-legged friends unfiltered tap water.
If the water is not safe for humans to consume, animals shouldn’t drink it either.
For the past five years, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said they had no reports of lead toxicity in household pets, but that all changed recently when the sick pups were discovered.
Animals with high levels of lead in their systems can suffer from gastrointestinal problems, weakness, seizures and even death. Fortunately, the two pets identified with lead poisoning in Flint are still alive and receiving treatment.
Authorities ask pets owners to offer their animals bottled or filtered water only, and if they suspect their pets have lead poisoning, please rush them to a veterinarian and get them tested immediately.
In April 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was made aware of the water problem, since then the organization worked with Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality to fix it and find a solution for all those affected. However, it wasn’t until January 2016 that the public learned of their exposure to the contaminated water, and now everyone is asking why so little was done to protect thousands of people from getting sick.
Flint is back on Lake Huron water and the government is implementing steps to make sure the source of the contamination is stopped. However, all this is too little and too late. Experts say the solution to this problem – which could have been easily prevented – will be astronomically expensive and will take years to fix.
For now, everyone in the area should avoid consuming contaminated water. Pet owners need to make sure their pets have access to clean and safe water, too.