A heartbroken family have been forced to say goodbye to their beloved dog after their street was reportedly infested with massive rats.
Pauline Robertson says her pet Coco fell ill over Easter weekend and tragically passed away after suffering a seizure.
She believes her Miniature Yorkshire Terrier was exposed to the infected rats that hit the streets of Page Moss in Knowsley, Merseyside.
Pauline said Coco suddenly became “very quiet” and had no appetite before the family had to keep her hydrated with a syringe.
His condition worsened on Easter Monday, Liverpool Echo report.
She said she was cuddling her when Coco “stiffened up” instantly before having what felt like a seizure.
When she was rushed to the vet, they were told the bad news that the seven-year-old girl was thought to have a bacterial infection called leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis can cause hemorrhaging, organ failure, and brain swelling and can be life-threatening to dogs and humans.
This had led to kidney and liver failure in Coco, and despite all efforts to get her on antibiotics, she sadly passed away.
Pauline said: “The vet told us they could give her antibiotics but it was a fatal disease. I asked how she got it and they said it was caused by rats .
“They thought she might have bitten a rat but I don’t think she did. She had been in the shed for a few nights last week and I had to keep taking her out but she didn’t. had no cuts or anything.
“We were told that even if a rat crossed the flags and peed and licked it or encountered the disease, that’s where it caught it.
“The rat situation in Page Moss is absolutely atrocious. The rats get caught in trash cans, jump on people. We don’t have grass, we have flags, so it’s not like our garden was overgrown.
“Our neighbors are suffering from rats in their homes and everyone is posting the situation on Facebook. But the bins are not being emptied as regularly as before. This has been going on for years.
“You feel so dirty. These rats are walking down the road, they don’t care.”
Pauline added that the death came as a ‘shock’ to the whole family as they believed she would ‘come home with antibiotics’.
She added: “You can’t take your dog anywhere because there are rats everywhere. All a dog has to do is sniff or lick and he can get this disease. It’s terrible. .
“The vet picked her up and went to give her antibiotics, but they came back through the door to tell us she had had another seizure and was dead.”
A spokesperson for Knowsley Council said: “We do not know the details of this specific case or any reported incidents of leptospirosis in Knowsley, but we offer our heartfelt condolences to this family on the loss of their beloved pet. .
“Although rats can carry this bacteria, dogs can catch leptospirosis in a number of ways, including from other infected dogs, by licking or sniffing the ground where an infected dog has urinated, from urine other infected animals (cows, pigs or rodents) or moist soils or rivers and lakes where the bacteria can live.
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“Fortunately, this infection is relatively rare in this country and protection against it is offered in routine vaccinations and booster shots by veterinarians.
“We continue to work with partners, residents, businesses and landlords to address any rat infestations at Page Moss.
“This includes sewer baiting, pest control and more recently a full day of action specifically targeting the area, identifying issues that may be contributing to the problems and offering advice to residents on prevention.
“Despite these best efforts, we are aware that some parties are still not following council advice and continuing to allow overgrown or poorly maintained areas to provide shelter for rodents.
“This is causing issues for the wider neighborhood. We are working proactively to address this issue as a priority and these efforts with partners, residents and businesses will continue.”