Some reports suggest that there has been an increase in dogs with tummy bugs in our area. You may have read about this in the local media or on community pages online. Some people have been worried that dogs could be getting sick after walking on the beach.
Please don’t worry – there is no proven increase in cases of dogs being unwell with sickness and diarrhoea, and no proven link to the beach.
We frequently see dogs with upset tummies – it’s one of the most common reasons dogs visit the vets. There can be peaks and troughs in case numbers, and this is not unusual. Most dogs that we have seen at our practice for vomiting or diarrhoea in recent weeks have recovered fully with minimal intervention – as we would expect.
There was an increased number of cases of dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea in Yorkshire very recently. The increase was significant enough to be considered an ‘outbreak’. This was investigated by the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET). SAVSNET have said any increase in case numbers in other regions is just ‘seasonal variation’.
The cause of the Yorkshire outbreak is believed to be a type of coronavirus that affects dogs’ intestines. It is not Covid-19. Cats and dogs can be affected by different types of coronaviruses. Coronaviruses have been around for a long time – much longer than the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is normal for us to see a lot of dogs with tummy upset symptoms – most cases are very mild. It’s hard to say whether we have seen more cases than normal. There are more dogs around now compared to pre-pandemic times, so more dogs share our favourite dog-walking spots. Infectious tummy bugs and respiratory diseases like Kennel Cough will spread more widely if there are more dogs in an area.
We don’t feel we have seen an increase in the number of dogs needing more involved treatment, like hospital stays and fluid therapy, from sickness or diarrhoea.
There is speculation in the media that cases could be linked to the beach, but we have not noticed that pattern in dogs we have seen with tummy upsets. Many dogs have been walked all over the place - some have not been to the beach at all.
Please be reassured that no additional risk has been identified for walking your dog on the beach, and the number of cases of vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs doesn’t seem to be higher than a usual seasonal peak.
Always be alert to your dog scavenging when on walks – there are dangers about - from discarded picnics in parks, to fish hooks near the beach, to unusual fungi in woods or on the Common.
If your dog is sick or has diarrhoea, please feel free to call us for advice. We will be more than happy to help. We may advise monitoring your pet at home or coming in for an appointment.