Cases of bug – which causes vomiting and diarrhoea – were first reported on UK coastlines but have no moved inland. The British Veterinary Association warned that cases were “more widespread than usual”, and that the number of pets suffering from the sickness had “spiked” in the North East and Yorkshire. Luckily, most owners report the cases in their pets to be mild, with very few animals requiring trips to the vets.
The illness had been previously linked to beach walks.
Previous weeks have seen the number of cases of dogs in coastal areas falling ill after walks on beaches.
A council in East Yorkshire investigating the link between the beaches and the cases found “no direct link” between the two.
UK Government department DEFRA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency were made aware of the reports in East Riding, Yorkshire.
The council’s manager for its coastlines, Kirsty Salisbury, said: “From reports from local veterinary surgeries, the illness they are seeing within dogs and the tests carried out have not provided any direct links with the use of beaches.
“We regularly inspect the beaches for signs of any irregular occurrences and at present there is nothing unusual; however, this will continue to be monitored and action will be taken, if and when necessary.”
But now, the British Veterinary Association has said that cases of the illness are being reported by owners much further inland.
Many of the dogs falling ill have not been to a beach to contract the bug.
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She recounted how within a day, her three-year-old Springer Spaniel became worryingly sick.
She said: “On Sunday, it just started with diarrhoea and we thought he might have picked something up on his walk, eaten something a bit funny.
“Then, on the Monday, he was just being sick absolutely everywhere.”
Luckily, her beloved pet did not need attention from a vet to recover.
Leeds-based vet Tom Ward said that, although owners were increasingly worried about their pets, it’s “rare for them to need hospitalising” for the mystery bug.
He added: “I wouldn’t be unduly worried. Vets see vomiting and diarrhoea every day.”
Dr Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association president, said: “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.”
In severe but rare cases, Dr Shotton added that some canines “may need hospitalisation with a drip”.
She added that it could be down to a seasonal illness, as has been the case in previous years.
She said: “We saw something similar a couple of years ago and the latest data from the University of Liverpool’s veterinary surveillance database points to the spike being part of normal seasonal variation at the moment.
“Our advice to concerned owners is to contact their local vet for prompt treatment if their dog shows any signs of illness, such as vomiting and diarrhoea.”