Dangerous dog sickness bug now in Devon

Dog owners are urging others about a serious period of sickness which is affecting dogs being walked in Exmouth.

Many have used social media, reporting how their dogs have been diagnosed with a vomiting virus and have needed anti-sickness injections over the past few days.

Approximately 500 cases of the bug have been reported across the UK, with indications including more frequent vomiting than is usually seen in canine gastroenteritis cases, followed in a few instances by diarrhoea and lethargy.

A sum of 474 reports have been recorded via a surveillance database, called SAVSNET, since it went live on January 30.

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Exmouth beach

Most cases are limited to England and Wales, with a number of cases in Cornwall, and now it is believed to have reached areas of Devon.

Alison Parry was walking her two dogs Buzz, three, and Woody, five – both cocker spaniels – around Exmouth Marina and Shelly Beach and then had to take them the vets the following day because they were both being sick.

She said: “There’s obviously something going on down there for it to be reoccurring. I have walked dogs there for 10 years and there’s never been a problem.

“After their walk last Friday, Buzz was sick first and then Woody. We knew it wasn’t something they had eaten as they always eat the same things.

“Dogs can dehydrate quickly and by Saturday they were both quite poorly so we took them to the vets and they both had anti-sickness injections. We have kept them in for two days.

“If anyone’s dog is being sick we have been told the advice is to seek veterinary attention.”

Alison has posted a warning on Facebook page Exmouth Community UK and many people have reported similar experiences.

One dog owner said: “Definitely. All of my five dogs are currently suffering from this. It takes about four to five days to recover. The first one became ill on Wednesday and is just beginning to eat again. You just need to keep them hydrated.”

Another said: “I haven’t walked on either Shelly Beach or Exmouth Marina, but I have been on Exmouth beach and the Maer, regularly, and my springer was so ill on Friday evening and Saturday.

“He ended up at the vet’s for an anti-sickness injection on Saturday. He’s still not right but at least he is now drinking water and keeping it down. He’s lost a lot of weight.”

Applying to other areas being affected, one person said: “Unfortunately it’s not just confined to above-mentioned areas. Family members dog has been very poorly and hospitalised at the vets and walks around the Brixington area.”

Following the post, one person stated: “I never walk Mear or beach during or after heavy rain for this reason. My Jack Russell Terrier was really bad a while back and I was advised to avoid those areas when weather has been bad.”

Another said: “My dog had it for four days at the end of last week. The most important thing is please do not walk your dog while they are ill to avoid spreading it to others.

” Like with any bug, give it at least 48 hours after their last episode of sickness/ diarrhoea. Yes, they were stir crazy, but better that than other vulnerable dogs dying from the bug.”

Nationally, Vets4Pets says it has seen in a rise in cases of a virulent bug that seen dogs “vomiting profusely for up to five days”.

In November a warning was declared after a pet hospital treated the near-fatal case of a one-year-old miniature schnauzer, Roker.

Now, researchers studying cases nationally have reported that affected dogs normally make a full recovery following prompt veterinary care to treat the symptoms.

Nevertheless, a small number of deaths have been reported, but it is currently not apparent if these are linked to the condition under examination.

Responding to the reports, British Veterinary Association president Daniella Dos Santos told the Daily Record: “We are aware of a spike in cases of prolific vomiting in dogs being reported by vets in several parts of the country.

“While pet owners are understandably worried, the cases may be part of a normal increase in gastroenteritis that vets usually see during the colder month.

“Our advice to owners is to call their local vet for advice in the first instance if their dog shows any of these symptoms. If your dog is ill, we’d encourage minimising contact with other dogs in the vicinity until veterinary advice has been sought.

“BVA is also asking vets to report any cases and controls via a questionnaire on the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) website, to help researchers build a clearer picture of the outbreak and to investigate if the spike is part of normal seasonal variation or if a specific virus or bacteria is in play.”

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