Knaresborough man issues puddle warning after dog dies
Last updated Dec 19, 2023
Andy Bell and Cassie

A Knaresborough man has urged dog owners to avoid letting their pets drink from puddles after losing his dog to a disease called leptospirosis.

Two-year-old Cassie died in Andy Bell’s arms last Wednesday after contracting the illness. A previously healthy dog, she was well known in Knaresborough and a regular at Parkrun.

But the Vizsla went downhill quickly after contracting leptospirosis, also known as lepto, which is caused by bacteria damaging vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Known as Weil’s disease in humans, lepto can spread in water infected with rats’ urine. It is often caught by dogs drinking from puddles.


Mr Bell said he hadn’t left the Knaresborough area in the days before Cassie fell ill and he wanted to prevent other dogs suffering a similar fate. He said:

“I’m keen to have other owners aware of not letting their dogs drink from puddles. It was a horrifying way to die, I wouldn’t wish it on another loved companion.

“It can be contracted in standing or slow moving water, not just puddles.  It is vaccinated against but it doesn’t cover every strain.”

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Cassie, said Mr Bell, had helped two Ukrainian refugees living with him to settle in.

He said:

“Dozens of people loved her and she loved everyone.

“She ended up in a specialist animal ICU north of Middlesbrough, but despite best efforts her kidneys were destroyed.  She went from coming ninth in a 10k canicross race to being dead in a few weeks.”

The vet charity PDSA has more information here.


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