Mystery dog illness: What symptoms to look out for and everything to know as the virus continues to spread across Northern England

Dogs across the UK are being impacted by the mystery illness.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)Dogs across the UK are being impacted by the mystery illness.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Dogs across the UK are being impacted by the mystery illness. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
The illness was first discovered in Yorkshire but seems to be spreading throughout northern areas.

A mystery illness affecting up to 150 dogs in Yorkshire is thought to be spreading throughout England, with cases being picked up across Devon and Cornwall as well as the North East.

It was initially thought the illness originated from a specific set of beaches on the East Yorkshire coast, but the potential virus has also been picked up by dogs inland as well as in North East and South West regions.

What are the symptoms of the mystery dog illness?

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Friday, January 14, British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton acknowledged the illness, claiming symptoms are similar to gastroenteritis.

This is a common illness in humans which causes symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting which is caused by a bacterial or viral bug. Dogs who may have the illness are also suffering from dehydration, general weakness and weight loss.

Gastroenteritis is also nothing new for vets, but this illness seems to be spreading more rapidly than usual.

Most cases are mild for the time being and dogs should be able to recover within a few days, although some impacted dogs may need hospitalisation with a drip.

What should I do if my dog gets ill?

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All advice regarding dogs who show symptoms is for the owner to contact their vet for prompt treatment.

What is the cause of the mystery illness?

Vets remain unsure on the cause of the illness at the moment. It was originally suspected cases were linked to one beach but the spread of cases has shown this to be untrue.

Cases were initially reported up and down the Yorkshire coast from Redcar to the lower reaches of the East Riding of Yorkshire although further instances of dogs in ill health have been found inland as well as other coastal regions.

Dr Shotton from the British Veterinary Association added: “While pet owners are understandably worried, the cases may be part of a normal increase in gastroenteritis that vets see during the colder months. We saw something similar a couple of years ago, and the latest data from the University of Liverpool’s veterinary surveillance database points to the spike being part of normal seasonal variation.”