What is making dogs sick on UK beaches? Cause behind 'mystery illness' that has impacted hundreds of dogs

Warning for UK dog owners after hundreds of dogs fall sick with 'mystery illness' after visiting the beach

By Sarah McCann, Search and Trends Writer
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:09 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:46 am

Pet owners are being asked to be vigilant after 150 dogs in England have came down with a mystery illness after visiting the beach.

The illness is thought to have originated at the North Yorkshire coast, with some vet practises asking dog owners to avoid beaches completely.

Here's everything you need to know about the mystery illness that is making dogs sick.

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Dog owners are being asked to be vigilant after dogs fall sick at the beach in England.

Where have cases been reported?

At the moment cases have only been reported in England.

The bug originated in the North Yorkshire Coast, but cases have now spread across England.

So far, they have been reported in Sheffield, Leeds, Hampshire, East Riding, Bridlington and Middlesbrough.

There have not yet been any confirmed cases in Northern Ireland.

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What are the symptoms to look out for?

Symptoms are similar to gastroenteritis, so owners are asked to watch for symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea and rejecting food.

Cheryl Holdsworth, from The Friendly Animal Clinic in Sowerby Bridge, near one of the affected areas stated,

"From cases we've seen, it is highly contagious from the speed with which it has moved through the canine population throughout the country."

What is the cause of the mystery illness?

The exact cause is not yet known, but there are a few theories.

The RSCPA have cited possible causes including viruses, bacteria and parasites as well as unsuitable foods and toxins.

However, they have pointed out that cases of gastroenteritis are more common in dogs during the winter months.

What have the USPCA said?

The RSPCA in Scarborough has issued a statement.

Hundreds of dogs have reportedly fallen ill after visiting one of Yorkshire's beaches, but the RSCPA is trying to reassure dog owners.

They stated that vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs is "common" in winter and have urged dog owners not to panic.

When asked what could be causing the sickness they stated, "We often don't get to know the cause since most cases recover within a couple of days without any need for treatment" .

What do I do, if my dog is sick?

If your dog is sick the RSPCA have recommended to keep dogs hydrated.

They also recommended, "If your dog is vomiting it is best not to feed them for 12 hours and then if the vomiting stops offer only small amounts of something bland."

They gave the same advice for diarrhoea, you can find out more about advice on how to care for your dog here.

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