Devastated owners have claimed their beloved dog became ‘lethargic’ and was ‘foaming at the mouth’ after an evening walk, amid a spate of dogs falling ill with a mystery virus in recent days.
Julie Cox, from Consett, County Durham, took her four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for an evening walk around Hownsgill Industrial estate on January 9 and noticed his behavior seemed ‘strange’.
Shortly after coming back, Duke became extremely poorly with diarrhea and vomiting and also went off his food.
After going to the vets for tests, he was sent home with medication – but he quickly took a turn for the worst and suffered a heart attack overnight and tragically died.
There is no confirmation of what caused Duke to die but it comes amid reports of hundreds of dogs experiencing similar symptoms. Dog owners are advised to contact their veterinary practice if they spot any of these symptoms.
Cases of dogs falling ill have also been reported on UK coastlines, including Hayling Island beach and Langstone Harbor in Hampshire, Fraisthorpe Beach in East Riding, Bridlington and Redcar beach.
Devastated owners have revealed their beloved dog, Duke, (pictured) became ‘lethargic’ and was ‘foaming at the mouth’ after an evening walk, amid a spate of dogs falling ill with a mystery virus in recent days
Julie Cox, (above) from Consett, County Durham, took her four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for an evening walk around Hownsgill Industrial estate on January 9 and noticed his behavior seemed ‘strange’
Speaking about her Duke’s symptoms, Julie said: ‘It was at ten past 11, he woke me up wanting to go out, and I thought it was a bit strange because he always goes for a long walk in the morning and at night.
‘I took him out and he had diarrhea. I went back to bed after an hour and he woke me up again, it went on like this about every hour until the morning. He did n’t want his breakfast and Duke normally really ravishes his food from him.’
Duke was described as a ‘lovely’ pup who was ‘everybody’s best friend’ and a popular visitor to Consett’s Duke of Wellington pub, which his owner Alan Marshall runs.
But after calling her local vet and describing Duke’s symptoms, she was advised to bring him in straight away.
She added: ‘He managed about a 10-minute walk and when we got back as soon as I took his lead off he vomited. My daughter, Rebecca, who is training to be a paramedic, said “mam, this is not normal, it’s not right.” He was foaming at the mouth and he vomited about four times in ten minutes.
‘I rang the vets and they told me to bring him up straight away. As we were taking him to the vets he became really lethargic.’
Duke was described as a ‘lovely’ pup who was ‘everybody’s best friend’ and a popular visitor to Consett’s Duke of Wellington pub, which his owner Alan Marshall (pictured) runs
The vets ran tests and said Duke’s organs seemed to be okay – they gave him medication and told Julie and Alan to bring him back after 24 hours. But when they got him home they realized he was bleeding from his behind him.
The team at Westway Vets in Consett advised them to go to the firm’s Newcastle base to be treated overnight. But as they arrived at the West Road practice, Duke suffered a heart attack.
Vets did their best to save him, but despite managing to stabilize him, he crashed again, and they were forced to deliver the tragic news to devastated Alan and Julie.
The pair decided to share their story to warn others about the alleged mysterious virus.
Alan said: ‘They told us that this virus is going round and they don’t know what to do to treat it. The vets did everything possible, they were so upset that they couldn’t help.
After going to the vets for tests, Duke (pictured) was sent home with medication – but he quickly took a turn for the worst and suffered a fatal heart attack overnight
What are the symptoms?
Gastrointestinal (GI) disease in dogs covers a wide range of symptoms – such as diarrhoea and vomiting – and is generally mild. However, in a minority of cases it can be severe.
Once detected, gastroenteritis in dogs can clear up within a week – but if it doesn’t seem to be getting better or you notice blood in their stool, take them to the vet for treatment.
If an owner is worried about their dog it is important that they contact their vet who can give advice and further treatment if necessary.
In addition, the BVA recommends that affected dogs should be isolated from other dogs to minimize the risks of onward transmission.
Last week, the British Veterinary Association President, Justine Shotton, claimed the symptoms of the mystery bug are similar to gastroenteritis.
However the bug needs to be monitored between one and two weeks before it can be considered an outbreak.
‘We just don’t want other people to go through this, you’d got to be careful when you take them for walks, of course, dogs are dogs, but maybe clean their paws whenever you get home.’
Julie added: ‘Duke was perfect. He wagged his tail all the time, he was happy all the time, he was as fit as a fiddle, we made sure we kept him healthy and fit. All the people who came into the pub loved him, he used to sit on people’s laps and watch what was going on. He was my best friend.
‘If we could just get the message out to people that there is this unknown virus out there and to be careful until it comes out exactly what it us.’
The British Veterinary Association said last week that the illness was likely to be a virus, which results in ‘gastroenteritis-like symptoms’, including diarrhea and vomiting.
They said they are aware of reports, but added there is currently no evidence linking walks on the beach to the bug.
BVA President Justine Shotton told MailOnline: ‘We’re very sorry to hear about this case. Vets see gastroenteritis cases in dogs relatively commonly in practice and the vast majority are mild, with the animals just needing time or some supportive care to make a full recovery. Sadly, in very rare situations, it can lead to secondary complications or even death.
‘At this time, we can’t speculate on what might be causing the symptoms in the cases being reported from Yorkshire and other parts of the UK. While pet owners are understandably worried, the spike may be part of a normal increase in gastroenteritis that vets see during the colder months.
‘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.’
Although many cases are more mild, there is a risk of serious illness, as happened to Duke. Dog owners are advised to contact their vets if they spot any of these symptoms.