This one’s for you, dog people. You and your pup should probably take a break from vitamin sea at these Vancouver beaches for the time being. Several Vancouver beaches are under E. Coli warnings and as a result, vets are now warning dog owners.
Kitsilano Beach closures were announced on Sunday due to high E. Coli levels in the water. However, it’s not just Kits. Trout Lake and Snug Cove are closed for the same reason.
According to Vancouver Coastal Health, there are many reasons for spikes like this in E. Coli levels. “Stormwater runoff can include contamination from recreational vehicles, animal waste and sewer overflows. Other possible sources are leaking septic tanks and discharge from boats. Heavy rain is often a factor contributing to poor beach water quality,” VCH outlines on their Beach Water Qualities webpage.
On top of the human risk factors, Vancouver vets are now warning residents to look out for their dogs, as well. "Dogs can swallow the water and get quite sick," Dr. Rebecca Greenstein told CTV News.
Dr. Greenstein went on to explain that it’s not just swimming that puts dogs at risk, but also secondary contact from even just playing in the sand. Young pups and elderly dogs are at the highest risk of infection. In some cases, these infections can even be fatal.
Dr. Greenstein went on to advise dog owners to keep their four-legged friends on leashes and give them a thorough bath after visiting the beach.
If you and your pet went to the beach between Sunday and now, Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital suggests that you keep an extra eye on them for up to 10 days following your beach visit. “If your dog develops diarrhea within three to four days it's probably associated with E. coli," he told CTV News.
When it comes to our health and the health of your beloved doggies, it’s always better safe than sorry. It’s probably best to steer clear of Kits Beach, Trout Lake, and Snug Cove until the closures are lifted.
If you can’t resist, get those leashes ready and keep those pups away from the water. Stay tuned for updates on the Vancouver Coastal Health website.