A NORTH-EAST vet is warning pet owners to take extra precautions against the deadly Weil’s disease.

The condition is an acute bacterial infection that can be passed on to both animals and humans, caught through contact with infected animal urine.

It is most commonly carried by rodents and with water levels rising across the country - and therefore a larger likelihood of rats - humans and their pets are at a significantly higher risk of developing the condition.

Michaela Wright, owner of Stanhope Park vets, in Darlington, said it is vital pet owners ensure their dog is vaccinated.

She said: “Weil’s disease typically enters the body through cuts and scrapes, or the lining of the nose, mouth, throat or eyes.

“Although very few people and animals suffer from this life-threatening disease, it’s extremely important that the necessary precautions are being taken.

“If you are in an area that has been affected by standing flood water, it is essential that your pet has any cuts and abrasions covered and avoids splashing and swallowing water.

“Where possible, you should thoroughly wash your pet after coming into contact with flood waters.”

Weil’s disease has an incubation period that can last between three days and three weeks. During this time your pet may not demonstrate any indication of feeling unwell.

Symptoms of Weil’s disease can vary, but are known to include high temperature, chills, a loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue and muscle pain.

In serious cases, it can lead to jaundice, internal bleeding and haemorrhaging from the mouth and eyes.