Researchers confirm dog sickness outbreak in Yorkshire

The University of Liverpool’s Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) has issued a new update on a recent suspected outbreak of gastrointestinal disease in dogs.

In January 2022, SAVSNET began investigating media and social media reports of a spike in cases of acute vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs in various parts of the UK. These concerns were first raised in Yorkshire and have since spread to other regions.

Their latest data confirms there is an increase of gastrointestinal disease affecting dogs around the country, with levels in Yorkshire high enough to qualify as an outbreak.

Professor Alan Radford, academic lead for SAVSNET, said: “Analysis of real-time data collected by SAVSNET from veterinary practices suggests that in Yorkshire, levels of disease have been statistically higher than we would expect for three weeks – we can therefore call this an outbreak in Yorkshire.

“In other regions, the increases we have seen so far look more like normal seasonal variation. However, such signals can change quickly, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”

SAVSNET data collected from collaborating laboratories suggests that existing pathogens like parvovirus are not involved in these current increases. The researchers stress that though it may be tempting to speculate on a role for Canine Enteric Coronavirus (CECoV) in the current outbreak, this would be premature based on their current data.

Bethaney Brant, SAVSNET project coordinator, added: “Although the cause is unknown it is likely to be infectious. It therefore makes sense for owners and vets to handle suspect cases carefully, and limit contact between affected and unaffected dogs.

“Thankfully affected dogs usually make a full recovery with appropriate care and there is no known risk to people. Owners of suspect cases should contact their veterinary practice for advice.”

The SAVSNET research response is being facilitated through the SAVSNet-Agile programme, which is funded by Dogs Trust and brings together colleagues across the University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, Lancaster University, University of Bristol.

For the latest SAVSNET updates on the outbreak please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/savsnet/dog-gi-investigation/

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