JIS News

Story Highlights

  • With the festive season in full swing, the Ministry of Health is reminding Jamaicans to make sure that the food of their pets is properly secured from rodents.
  • Linnette Peters, Director of Veterinary Public Health in the Ministry of Health told JIS News that during this season, persons tended to prepare a lot of food, resulting in lots of leftovers.
  • The leftovers invariably end up being fed to pets, Dr. Peters pointed out.

With the festive season in full swing, the Ministry of Health is reminding Jamaicans to make sure that the food of their pets is properly secured from rodents.

Linnette Peters, Director of Veterinary Public Health in the Ministry of Health told JIS News that during this season, persons tended to prepare a lot of food, resulting in lots of leftovers.

The leftovers invariably end up being fed to pets, Dr. Peters pointed out.

This, she said was fine, once the leftovers were securely stored.

However, in some cases during the constant activity associated with the season, leftovers end up not being properly stored.

“You must securely store these leftovers so that they are not available to rodents. They can contaminate it and when you feed it to your pet, it can put them at risk,” she explained.

Making the leftovers accessible to rodents can cause diseases, such as Leptospirosis, which is usually transferred from rats through their urine.

“Their urine contains the Leptospirosis organism, so this makes them reservoirs of this organism. When animals ingest the food that has come in contact with the urine, they can contract the disease,” Dr. Peters explained.

The organism spreads quickly through the bloodstream causing fever, joint pain, among other symptoms, which can last up to a week.

In more severe cases, the illness can result in kidney failure and dependent on the type of leptospire involved, liver failure can also occur.

The disease also affects humans, who can get it when coming in contact with infected dogs, as well as other animals such as cattle and pigs, in addition to the rats.

Dr. Peters also reminded pet owners to make sure that feed is always available, as during the hustle and bustle, many persons forget to feed their pets.