Dog bug outbreak is worst for years

VETS in Ipswich are dealing with the worst gastroenteritis outbreak in dogs seen in the area for years.Worried pet lovers have today urged dog owners in the Gainsborough area to be on the lookout for any sign of illness in their dogs as a vet warned the bug needed to be treated as soon as it was spotted.

VETS in Ipswich are dealing with the worst gastroenteritis outbreak in dogs seen in the area for years.

Worried pet lovers have today urged dog owners in the Gainsborough area to be on the lookout for any sign of illness in their dogs as a vet warned the bug needed to be treated as soon as it was spotted.

Several dogs have already died from the virus, which causes acute vomiting and diarrhoea and leaves the animals severely dehydrated, and up to 20 serious cases have been reported at one veterinary surgery alone.

Simon Clarke, a partner with the Highcliff Veterinary Practice, which has a practice in Cliff Lane in Gainsborough, said: “We've been dealing with an outbreak of gastroenteritis in dogs for about the last two to three weeks. The problem seems to be confined mainly to the Gainsborough area.

“As vets we all feel this is the worst we have seen it for a long time.”

Gastroenteritis outbreaks are common in summer but rarely are they as severe as that being seen in Gainsborough this summer. Other cases have been reported in Ipswich's Chantry area but the cases have been less severe.

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Some dog owners had feared the sickness was due to an outbreak of parvovirus which recently swept through Norwich, infecting 67 dogs and leaving 43 dead.

But vets in Ipswich do not believe the virus has spread here and instead they have attributed the deaths and sickness to gastroenteritis, which was has thrived in the hot summer weather.

The outbreak has affected all breeds and ages of dogs, although young dogs have proved most susceptible. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs have fallen victim to it.

Mr Clarke said: “These cases come on extremely quickly. The dogs are dehydrated and just can't keep anything down.

“If they're not seen quickly they've got no chance.”

Pam Giles, a dog owner from Beatty Road, said her Staffordshire Ridgeback cross Candy fell ill earlier this week.

She said: “I got up and she was sick and she wouldn't greet me. She had to have an antibiotics jab.

“Round here there has been about five dogs that have died through this.”

Her neighbour Donna Lambe, also of Beatty Road, said her 12-week-old black Labrador puppy, Paddy, had to be put down after contracting the bug.

She said: “I've heard of three other cases. A lady up the road lost two dogs and one of my friends lost his dog too. It's awful really.”

Look for signs of lethargy, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Avoid taking your dog to areas where large numbers of dogs are exercised

Avoid your dog having contact with other dogs

To avoid diseases like parvovirus ensure your dog is vaccinated and has had its boosters

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