A mystery illness is affecting dogs living in Yorkshire, UK. There was and perhaps still is a belief that dogs are getting the illness when walking on beaches. However, it seems that there is no direct connection between this mystery illness and walking on one of Yorkshire’s beaches. This is because dogs living inland are also getting the disease.
It appears to be affecting hundreds of dogs, perhaps thousands, because some have not been reported. Veterinary nurse Brogan Proud issued a warning to dog owners to avoid the beach. She noticed a high increase of dogs coming into veterinary practices with very bad vomiting and diarrhoea.
Perhaps a preponderance of the dogs contracting this mystery illness had walked on a beach. For example, Copper, a nine-month-old beagle spaniel enjoyed a walk on Fraisthorpe beach in East Riding, Yorkshire, on Sunday. His owner, Ashley Brown-Bolton, was very concerned after he began vomiting on Monday. She took him to the vet who gave him an anti-sickness jab. This helped but it didn’t make any impact on the diarrhoea.
Dogs that had walked on beaches including at Scarborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby and Marske-by-the-sea and further down the coast are being treated as veterinary clinics. A Facebook alert was created which has attracted more than 1000 responses.
Brogan Proud, who I believe created the Facebook post, said that the post “blew up” meaning that there was a lot of response and she believes that a large number of dogs are affected. Many of the dogs affected visited the coast in early January. They may have contracted the disease and then spread the disease to other dogs.
They have no idea whether it’s a virus or a bacterial infection or something else. If dogs are spreading the disease it would have to be a virus. If there is something on the beach it’s going to be a contaminant and something toxic to dogs. But as mentioned it appears that dogs inland are also contracting this illness. This would preclude the idea that it only emanates from beaches in Yorkshire.
They appear to have discounted the possibility of dogs getting the disease when swimming in the sea. That could have been the cause because the sea can be polluted as we all know.
The illness is quite bad as evidenced by French Bulldog, Ada, from Carlisle whose human caregiver, Aaron Yeates, said that “After two trips to the vet, she is only just starting to keep food down again. She lost a considerable amount of weight; her harness barely fits.”
Kirsty Salisbury, the coastal general manager for East Riding Council said that inspection teams had not noticed anything unusual on the beaches. She is liaising with other people and agencies to try and establish the cause. Defra is aware of the issue and is in contact with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
Comment: My immediate gut feel is that this is caused by some sort of toxic pollutant rather than a virus or bacterial infection. There’s been quite a discussion recently about river pollution with sewage being discharged and other pollutants being washed away from facilities into rivers. It seems that businesses have become careless despite the raised awareness of the need to protect the environment brought about by global warming and COP26.