Family heartbroken after dog ‘victim of streets full of big rats’

Pauline Robertson, from Page Moss, Liverpool, said her community had been overrun by rats, which she blamed for the death of her miniature Yorkshire terrier, Coco

The family dog, Coco, died from a suspected bacterial infection
The family dog, Coco, died from a suspected bacterial infection

A heartbroken family believes their dog has died after being exposed to rats ‘taking over the streets’.

Pauline Robertson, from Page Moss, Liverpool, said vermin were rampant in her community.

Her miniature Yorkshire terrier, Coco, fell ill over the Easter weekend and was diagnosed with a suspected bacterial infection.

The seven-year-old puppy later died and Pauline is convinced she caught leptospirosis from rats in the area Liverpool echo reports.

The family first realized something was wrong with Coco when she became “very quiet” and had no appetite.

They had to give her an injection to hydrate her before she suddenly got worse on Easter Monday.

Pauline Robertson thinks Coco caught leptospirosis from rats in the area


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Coco died of kidney and liver failure


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Pauline said she was cuddling her beloved dog when Coco immediately “went stiff” before appearing to have a fit.

When she was taken to the vets, they received the bad news that the seven-year-old was believed to have leptospirosis.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that can cause bleeding, organ failure and brain swelling and is potentially fatal to both dogs and humans.

Infected dogs can die within 48 hours if left untreated.

This had left Coco with kidney and liver failure, and despite best efforts to treat her with antibiotics, she sadly died.

Pauline told ECHO: “The vet told us she could be given antibiotics but it was a fatal disease.

“I asked how she got this and they told me it was caused by rats.

“They thought she might have been bitten by a rat, but I don’t think she had.

“She was in the shed for a couple of nights last week and I kept having to get her out but she didn’t have any cuts or anything.

“We were told that even if a rat ran over the flags and peed and licked it or encountered the disease, that’s where it caught it.”

Pauline added the situation was “absolutely cruel,” and said rats had become a prolific problem in the Page Moss area.

She added: “The situation with rats in Page Moss is absolutely cruel. Rats get stuck in trash cans and jump on people.

“We don’t have grass, we have flags so our garden doesn’t get overgrown.

“Our neighbors are suffering from rats in their house and everyone has posted on Facebook about the situation.

“But the bins aren’t being emptied as regularly as they used to be. It’s been like this for years.

“People clean up their gardens as best they can, there is no garbage in the nearby field. We only had tools in our shed, but she went further inside.

“People are really trying, but something has to be done.

“You feel so dirty. Those rats are walking down the street, they just don’t care.”

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Coco had been unwell for two days when her symptoms started.

Symptoms in pets can include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, refusal to eat, and stiffness.

Pauline added the death had come as a “shock” to the whole family as they believed she would “come home on 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 it can get this disease. It’s terrible.

“The vet picked her up and left to give her antibiotics but they came back through the door to tell us she had another seizure and had died.

“Other people have sent messages saying their dogs have died from this disease. Something really needs to be done.”

A spokesman for Knowsley Council said: “We are not aware of the details of this particular case or of the reported incidents of leptospirosis in Knowsley, but we offer our sincere condolences to this family on the loss of their beloved pet.

“Although rats can transmit this bacterium, there are a number of ways that dogs can contract leptospirosis, including from other infected dogs, by licking or sniffing floors where an infected dog has urinated, by the urine of other infected animals (cows , pigs or rodents) or from wet soil or rivers and lakes where the bacteria can live.

“Fortunately, this infection is relatively rare in this country and protection against it is provided through routine vaccination and booster shots by veterinarians.

“We continue to work with partners, residents, businesses and landlords to combat any rat infestation in Page Moss.

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“This includes sewer baiting, pest control and finally a full day of actions specifically targeting the area, identifying issues that may be contributing to the problems and providing prevention advice to local residents.

“Despite these efforts, we are aware that there are still some parties who are not heeding the Council’s advice and continue to allow overgrown or poorly maintained areas to provide shelter for rodents.

“This causes problems for the wider neighborhood. We are proactively working to address this as a priority and these efforts will continue with partners, residents and businesses.”

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