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Western North Carolina The Mountain Region including Asheville
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:14 AM
Location: Weaverville
765 posts, read 2,218,890 times
Reputation: 400


I do a lot of fishing/hiking/camping the the back country and because of the prevalence of giardia, leptospirosis, and other pathogens I never drink directly from a stream. I carry a filter bottle guaranteed to remove bacteria and if there is a possibility of viruses I use a water treatment chemical as well. Most springs and creeks even at the highest elevations are contaminated with giardia because infected animals carry it from one stream/spring to another. Have fun out there but stay safe

From the CDC website:

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.

Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Many different kinds of animals carry the bacterium; they may become sick but sometimes have no symptoms. Leptospira organisms have been found in cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents, and wild animals. Humans become infected through contact with water, food, or soil containing urine from these infected animals. This may happen by swallowing contaminated food or water or through skin contact, especially with mucosal surfaces, such as the eyes or nose, or with broken skin. The disease is not known to be spread from person to person.

Leptospirosis occurs worldwide but is most common in temperate or tropical climates. It is an occupational hazard for many people who work outdoors or with animals, for example, farmers, sewer workers, veterinarians, fish workers, dairy farmers, or military personnel. It is a recreational hazard for campers or those who participate in outdoor sports in contaminated areas and has been associated with swimming, wading, and whitewater rafting in contaminated lakes and rivers. The incidence is also increasing among urban children.

The risk of acquiring leptospirosis can be greatly reduced by not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine.
Protective clothing or footwear should be worn by those exposed to contaminated water or soil because of their job or recreational activities.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:59 PM
Location: Carolina Mountains
1,980 posts, read 3,445,350 times
Reputation: 2004
....Lake Lure is not in Black Mountain...Try an 45min-hr. south of it....mile wise its not far, but the roads to it are all super curvy so you can't go very fast.

If you are looking for clear lakes that you can see the bottom in, then around here isn't going to be for you. We have tons of algae in all the lakes around here so they are all murky and slimy. I'm sure all the run off from slope development doesn't help either. I sure as heck don't let my dogs drink any stream/creek/river water here either due to all the different parasites that have already been mentioned above. I wouldn't let them drink water from creeks anywhere though, for the same reason a human should always filter/boil their water first.
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Old 07-31-2010, 05:57 AM
Location: Asheville
1,162 posts, read 3,569,796 times
Reputation: 1199
I was SO saddened to hear of the passing of your dear dog. What a tragedy. We have a dog that when she was a pup, she used to go under the fence, and I raced to get her one time, and found her drinking from a stream not far from the house (we lived in a neighborhood), and I freaked out. I watched her and worried about her for several days. She didn't get sick, thank goodness, and even tho I knew we have especially clean water up here in the mountains, I guess I've read so much about the polluted water crisis worldwide, that I did worry, plus it was in a neighborhood. But you were out in the woods, and you would THINK it would have been okay, I would have. Oh, what a shame, enjoying the nature of these mountains, and to have a normal thing turn into disaster, I really feel for you. A VERY good alert to anyone who has dogs, so thank you for sharing this.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:03 PM
Location: the beach
145 posts, read 260,847 times
Reputation: 215
Scorecard Home gives water ratings for zip codes
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:28 PM
Location: Sylva, NC
267 posts, read 692,792 times
Reputation: 217
I think there are probably a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to this issue, not the least of which is the health and immune system of the dog. If you are feeding your dog crappy kibble full of chemicals and stuff that just isn't natural for your dog, chances are greater that your dogs immune system would not have much luck fighting off a bacterial infection of this nature. However, there are plenty of dogs around here that will live their entire lives getting most of their drinking water from a local stream and never get ill.

We've got our dog on a Prey Model raw diet, full of fresh, hormone free meats, bone and organs, and she's extremely healthy. I wouldn't let her drink out of the French Broad or something of that nature, but we do a lot of hiking with her and let her cool her paws and drink from streams and creeks.

I think the most important thing is to keep a very close eye on your dog, and don't sit around and wonder for days why your dog hasn't drank any water, or won't play or act like normal. At the first sign of trouble, get it to the vet.

My two cents
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Old 10-17-2012, 01:03 PM
1 posts, read 2,501 times
Reputation: 11
I recently read about thalium leeching into the French Broad river from coal processing plants. That can't be good.

Check this out. I am hoping to move to the area, but these tidbits are very concerting. How much would it cost to get lab testing of wells and streams that are on properties in the WNC area? And how often would it need to be done?

[url=http://www.mountainx.com/article/46135/WNC-Alliance-other-groups-seek-groundwater-cleanup]WNC Alliance, other groups seek groundwater cleanup | Mountain Xpress | Asheville, NC[/url]
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:15 PM
4,812 posts, read 5,440,936 times
Reputation: 7586
Well, I know Brevard/Transylvania County says it has the best water quality in the area. And Mills River said Sierra Nevada Beer is building a plant there for the water quality.

However, good water quality could just mean it's free from pollution. It doesn't mean there are no organisms in the water. I have always understood that it's dangerous to drink out of any stream without filtration.

My vet said most dogs and cats will fend off and destroy Giardia in their system if they are healthy, but there are other organisms that are probably too difficult to fend off.

I've seen a lot of water abuses in the countryside that authorities don't catch. A lot of rural people have surprisingly little regard for the environment and will dump anything in the water. Then again, I've seen people who ought to know better do stupid things. We had a neighbor who is a doctor scrape plant material from the banks of a creek and bulldoze dirt right into it.

Even being a doctor, he didn't realize he was killing off tiny animal life in the creek and that the extra dirt would eventually flow into the lake and contribute to silting it up. The EPA had a talk with him and made him stop.

I also know that if you live downhill from cattle, you'd better get your well checked if you have one. We know of people who were getting sick. Testing showed their well was contaminated from the runoff of the cow pastures they were downhill from. Such a pity because those pastures and cows are beautiful.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:19 PM
Location: Marshall, NC
442 posts, read 1,294,332 times
Reputation: 236
We moved here five weeks ago. My dog definitely was drinking from the beautiful Big Laurel Creek that runs through here. She developed diarrhea and lost her appetite. I took her to the vet right away and he believes she contracted Leptospirosis. He has given her one dose of the vaccine and we will go back in a few weeks to get the second dose. I feel better about letting her jump in the creek, knowing she will take a drink, but I still don't encourage her to drink - or linger in the water too long. After five days of antibiotics/anti-diarrhea meds she is back to normal (although she did develop a site reaction to the shot).
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:23 PM
4,507 posts, read 4,366,694 times
Reputation: 3245
I was sort of looking forward to enjoying some of the water activities in WNC during the warmer months and had been researching some of the rivers, creeks, lakes, swimming holes, etc. Are there any that are considered more or less safe to at least swim/tube/splash around in, or is caution required in just about all cases?
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:56 PM
Location: Carolina Mountains
1,980 posts, read 3,445,350 times
Reputation: 2004
Originally Posted by Shooting Stars View Post
Well, I know Brevard/Transylvania County says it has the best water quality in the area. And Mills River said Sierra Nevada Beer is building a plant there for the water quality.
Which ever brewery(can't keep them straight) is planning to use the french broad discovered that there is a major ecoli contamination and now they are working on pinpointing the source. Thought that was interesting considering the area was originally chosen because of the water.
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