White Cross Vets has now seen dozens of dogs suffering with GI across its 21 practices which are spread across England, including Balby, with the first cases in its Yorkshire sites, which is where the outbreak is thought to have started.
At the start of February, The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) asked vets throughout the UK to complete a questionnaire and supply a faecal sample after treating any dog suffering with vomiting or diarrhoea, in order to track the outbreak.
Laura Paterson, group clinical director at White Cross Vets, explained: “We have definitely seen more dogs than ever before suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea since the start of the year. Initially it was thought that this disease originated on the beaches of Yorkshire, but it’s now been confirmed as an outbreak of seasonal GI.
“Viruses that cause this kind of reaction can be picked up anywhere – not just on the beach – and SAVSNET’s early research shows that 79 per cent of dogs suffering with GI had not visited the beach prior to becoming ill. It now seems to be a problem that has spread across a lot of the country. Many owners with more than one dog also reported that other dogs in the household were showing similar symptoms, which suggests it is infectious.
“It’s important for dog owners to know that they shouldn’t ignore the symptoms for a day or two before getting treatment, because although most dogs will make a full recovery with appropriate care, it can be fatal in certain circumstances. The sooner a dog comes to us the better.
“We can often treat the pet with anti-sickness drugs and a special paste and food and send them home after their appointment. The longer they have been ill for, the more dehydrated they get, which means more lengthy and costly treatments including over-night stays and rehydration drips.”
White Cross Vets has been caring for pets for 80 years and now employs a 300 strong team across 21 practices in the UK. For more information about White Cross Vets, visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk.