Marine biologist ‘99.9% certain’ he has found cause of North East dog illness

“I am 99.9 per cent certain that this week-long dredging operation unearthed some historical toxins.”

A marine biologist is "99.9% certain" that he has worked out what is causing widespread sickness across dogs in the North East and Yorkshire.

Last week The British Veterinary Association acknowledged the bug that has been going around pets with 'gastroenteritis-like symptoms'.

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BVA President Justine Shotton refused to speculate on the cause, but did say that there was "currently no evidence to suggest a direct link between the illness and the dogs visiting the beaches".

However, David McCreadie, a former senior lecturer in marine biology and oceanography, believes the diarrhoea and vomiting is linked to the coast.

Mr McCreadie began to find dead lobsters and crabs on the Yorkshire coast near Redcar last September.

He was prompted to head down and look after seeing a vessel dredging off Teesmsouth at the time.

The academic told Teeside Live that he is certain that the dog sickness is caused by such dredging operations.

He said: "I am 99.9 per cent certain that this week-long dredging operation unearthed some historical toxins.

"It dumped the spoil about three to four miles off - fishermen found hundreds of dead seabirds floating at the site.

"We have asked Defra to take samples from the dredged area and the recent animals and if necessary send samples to Porton Down for analysis specifically cyanide and dioxins.

The Tees Estuary in Redcar (Image: Getty Images)

"As we all know the Tees has been an industrial sewer for 100 years."

Despite the lecturer's theories, the investigating authority has ruled out dredging as a 'likely' cause of the illness.

The BVA last week said that most cases of the illness are mild, but some dogs may need hospitalisation with a drip.

In the worst cases, it can become hemorrhagic and lead to secondary complications and death.

Dr Shotton added: “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 at the moment.

“Our advice to concerned owners is to contact their local vet for prompt treatment if their dog shows any signs of illness, such as vomiting and diarrhoea.”