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Warning to pet owners after dogs struck down by vomiting bug – Cornwall Live

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Vets have issued advice after dogs across Devon and Cornwall have been struck down by a virus which is making pooches vomit ‘profusely’.

Some pets in Cornwall have even had to be hospitalised for treatment after suffering from severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

Jessica Murray Pollard, from St Austell, told how her eight-month-old springer spaniel Finley has been a victim of the virus, spending the whole of Wednesday being sick.

It comes as, nationally, a veterinary group is warning dog owners to be vigilant after an unusually high number of cases of a vomiting virus – and as dog owners in Cornwall have taken to social media to warn others about a dog sickness bug doing the rounds.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has now issued advice for worried dog owners, following a spike in the number of acute gastroenteritis cases being reported in many parts of the country.

Both vets and owners have reported cases of dogs being struck by a vomiting bug, with symptoms including more frequent vomiting than is usually seen in canine gastroenteritis cases, accompanied in a few instances by diarrhoea, anorexia and lethargy.

There have been 474 reports recorded via a dedicated University of Liverpool veterinary surveillance database, called SAVSNET, since it went live on 30 January 2020.

Most cases are confined to England and Wales, with one in Northern Ireland.

Researchers looking into the cases report that affected dogs usually make a full recovery following prompt veterinary care to treat the symptoms.

However, a small number of deaths have been reported, but it is currently not clear if these are linked to the condition under investigation.

Responding to the reports, British Veterinary Association President Daniella Dos Santos said: “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 months.

“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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What are the symptoms?

Here is a list of things to look out for:

  • Prolonged vomiting (for five days or more)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Being lethargic
  • Having blood in their stools
  • Not eating

Professor Alan Radford, who is helping to coordinate the SAVSNET-University of Liverpool response, said: “Data from vets in practices suggests that gastroenteric disease is unusually increasing, starting from around November 2019.

“When we receive samples (faeces, vomit, saliva) from dogs that meet our case definition of 5 or more vomiting episodes in a 12-hour period, we will be looking to identify any evidence of an infectious cause.”

How are dogs treated?

After exploring the dog’s history in depth, a physical examination is carried out. This involves taking the dog’s temperature.

This is then followed by a blood test, and depending on the results, X-rays and ultrasound scans can be taken.

In the most serious of cases, intravenous drips can be used, but most dogs are given anti-sickness medication and recover well.


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