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Mystery dog illness spreads: Urgent warning as vets see horrendous spike in cases


A high number of dogs in the region have been suffering from a violent gastroenteritis-type bug with one vet in Nottingham confirming that experts are seeing “higher than usual” occurrences. Churchcroft surgery explained that the rise in cases fits with wider reports issued by The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET).

Owners are being advised to watch out for repeated vomiting of five or more times during a 12-hour period, although this can stop for a time, such as overnight, before restarting.

Dogs are often unable to keep water down during the vomiting stage of the illness with most also suffering from diarrhoea.

In its warning statement, Churchcroft said: “So far we have found that the cases we have seen – whilst clearly being poorly – have responded well to treatment.

“The British Veterinary Association [advises] that with prompt veterinary treatment almost all dogs make a full recovery from this uncommonly violent gastric bug.”

Vet surgeries are urging dog owners to book appointments if their pooch falls ill.

Gastrointestinal disease (GI) in dogs covers a wide range of symptoms and is generally mild, but in a minority of cases it can be severe, according to SAVSNET.

In dogs, it appears to be seasonal and to peak in January.

There was a national outbreak of a more severe gastrointestinal disease associated with a canine enteric coronavirus variant affecting dogs from January to May 2020 with fears among some vets and owners in several areas of the UK of a similar outbreak emerging this month.

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Earlier this month hundreds of dogs fell ill after taking walks on beaches along the Yorkshire coast.

British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme earlier this month: “We are aware of a recent spike in cases of dogs falling ill from gastroenteritis-like symptoms in several parts of Yorkshire and North East England.

“Vets see gastroenteritis cases relatively commonly in practice, but numbers seem to be increasing and more widespread than usual.

“At this time, we can’t speculate on what might be causing the symptoms, and there is currently no evidence to suggest a direct link between the illness and the dogs visiting the beaches.

“With gastroenteritis, most cases are mild, but some dogs may need hospitalisation with a drip. In the worst situations, it can become haemorrhagic leading to secondary complications or even death, but that is very rare.”

Falling short of calling the case numbers an outbreak, SAVSNET reports that while nationally 2022 seems to be similar to a normal year in terms of case numbers, data for Yorkshire appears to be not unlike that seen in 2020.

SAVSNET states: “Clearly, this represents a worrying trend and one that needs to be monitored both locally and more widely, especially as there are reports of similar increases from other regions of the country.”

In severe cases, especially if left untreated, gastroenteritis can be life-threatening for canines.

The registered charity advises that if your dog defecates or vomits in public, then it is even more important to clear up after them and to wash your hands carefully afterwards.

It warns: “Close contact with affected dogs, and their vomit and diarrhoea are likely to be the main ways that GI bugs are transmitted.”



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