A LEADING vet is urging pet owners to keep their beloved animals away from flood-affected areas because of the dangers contaminated water can pose.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has warned that despite floodwater receding, the threat posed to pets and livestock still remains.

BVAI president Robin Hargreaves said 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.

Last week, Marlow Town Council has already received reports of pets becoming sick after contact with floodwater around the town.

He 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.

"It is also worth checking with your vet that you are up-to-date with all vaccinations. This will give your pet the best possible protection against diseases, such as leptospirosis, which can be spread through stagnant water."

Dr Hargreaves also urged farmers to consider the risks of contamination to livestock feed or drinking water, and not to use stock that shows signs of spoilage or mould.

If alternative water or feed is not available, Dr Hargreaves suggested farmers should consider selling the animals and reinvesting when conditions improve."