Experts in infectious animal diseases among dogs believe a coronavirus may be causing the sudden wave of sickness affecting pets across the nation.
The mystery dog illness has seen pups getting seriously ill after going on walks.
Cases were reported on the Teesside coastline, cases then spread inland affecting areas. A Redcar vet reports “more dogs than ever before” are coming into their surgery suffering vomiting and diarrhea.
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Alan Radford, a Professor of Veterinary Health Informatics at the University of Liverpool, has been part of a specialist team investigating a higher than normal incidence of sickness and diarrhea occurring in dogs, reports Yorkshire Live.
He says his team have confirmed an outbreak has happened, and that it could be linked to a canine coronavirus.
For the latest Health news click here Working as part of a small team headed by SAVSNET, the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network, a number of new data patterns have come to light that may pinpoint a possible cause of the rising number of unwell pets.
Professor Radford said, “Analysis of real-time data collected by SAVSNET from veterinary practices suggests that in Yorkshire, levels of disease have been statistically higher than we would expect for three weeks – we can therefore call this an outbreak in Yorkshire.
“In other regions, the increases we have seen so far look more like normal seasonal variation.
“However, such signals can change quickly, and we will continue to monitor the situation.” He went on to confirm today that investigations into the cause of the sickness were still ongoing, but revealed that one of the top candidates for the infection may be Canine Enteric Coronavirus (CEC).
Despite the name, CEC bears no relation to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 and as a result, doesn’t pose a risk to owners or family members that may come into contact with infected dogs.
In fact, broadly speaking coronaviruses are just a specific type of virus that may share no other similarity aside from being part of the same extended family.
In the case of CEC, the virus has been around far longer than Covid-19, and historically has only produced a relatively mild illness in dogs, despite affecting several thousand a year globally.
Bethaney Brant, SAVSNET project coordinator also weighed in on the investigation, and added: “Although the cause is unknown it is likely to be infectious.
It therefore makes sense for owners and vets to handle suspect cases carefully, and limit contact between affected and unaffected dogs.
“Thankfully affected dogs usually make a full recovery with appropriate care and there is no known risk to people.
Owners of suspect cases should contact their veterinary practice for advice.”
If your dog is showing symptoms of sickness and diarrhea, the illness is usually self limiting and will resolve on it’s own, but if the condition persists or your pet is showing signs of distress, always remember to seek guidance from your local vet.
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