Mystery illness in dogs update
Vomiting and diarrhoea in local dogs
In common with many veterinary practices across the region, we have seen a substantial increase in cases of “gastroenteritis” in dogs over the last two weeks. Contrary to reports of cases being associated with walks on the beach, we are seeing cases in dogs walked locally. Clinical signs include quite severe, frequent episodes of vomiting, usually then followed by watery diarrhoea.
Most dogs, if treated soon after the start of clinical signs, are recovering when given simple medical treatment. However, some dogs are presenting with more severe illness and are requiring hospitalisation, intravenous fluids and more intensive treatment. Puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with pre-existing diseases are more at risk of more serious illness or complications.
If your dog has vomiting and diarrhoea, please DO NOT take them for a walk! If you do, you may be infecting more dogs. Please phone us for advice. We may advise to bring your dog to us for an appointment with a vet. If we do, please DO NOT bring your dog into the building unless instructed to do so by a member of staff. The vet may examine your dog outside to reduce the risk of infecting more dogs. It may be useful to bring a sample of diarrhoea for testing, preferably in a sample pot or small Tupperware-type container. Faecal sample pots are available from the surgery.
Although Peter Wright (the “Yorkshire Vet”) has suggested that some cases are due to Parvovirus, we do not think that the illness we are seeing is Parvo (the symptoms are less severe, and patients have not been passing blood). Parvovirus is different to other gastroenteritis and is more serious. ‘Parvo’ is highly contagious to other dogs and spreads very easily around dogs and puppies that aren’t up to date with their vaccinations. Parvovirus spreads through body fluids, including a dog’s poo and vomit. The virus is extremely hardy and can survive in the environment outside the body (for example: in the grass at a park) for at least six months, and possibly much longer. Your dog can even contract parvo by sniffing another dog’s poo and it’s not uncommon for dogs to catch parvo when out for a walk.
There are sporadic pockets of Parvo locally and, in outbreaks, up to half of infected, unvaccinated dogs can die. It is really, really important to protect your dog against this horrible disease by vaccinating them.
Please keep up your dog’s regular booster vaccinations.
If you are unsure if your dog is up to date with their yearly booster then please give us a call. It takes very little time for us to check, to give you peace of mind, or to arrange an appointment.
The British Veterinary Association have released a statement regarding the surge in cases of this “mystery illness”: