An Essex vet has issued an urgent warning to dog owners over a suspected virus.

Dogs have been treated for excessive vomiting and diarrhoea in a worrying number of cases at The Forge Veterinary Centre on Head Street

Emily Nightingale, who qualified as a vet in 2007, has warned pet owners to be on the lookout for the symptoms after seeing an increased number of dogs suspected to have the virus over the past week.

She said: “We have seen more dogs coming in suffering with vomiting and diarrhoea in the last week – double the amount expected for this time of year.

“Most vets see one dog a day with vomiting and diarrhoea, so when you start seeing dog after dog with it, it becomes a worry.

“I rung around some local practices to see if there had been anything similar. Ardmore in Sudbury had, so we thought the next step is to make people aware.

“The dogs that responded best to the treatment are the ones that had treatment the quickest.

“One came in really unwell; they could barely walk up the corridor, we had to pick him up. He was the worst by a mile, he had been showing symptoms for up to five days.

“We must have a bug going around, because all our patients have been wormed, which leaves bacteria and viruses to be the only cause.”

A suspected bug has been reported at a number of locations across the country, including Liverpool, and Norfolk, as well as the The Forge Veterinary Centre’s sister practice, The Aldham Veterinary Centre, near Colchester.

What are the symptoms

  • Prolonged vomiting (for five days or more), Diarrhoea, being lethargic, Not eating

How are dogs treated? Emily explained that after exploring the dog’s history in depth, a physical examination is carried out. This involves taking the dog’s temperature.

This is then followed by a blood test, and depending on the results, X-rays and ultrasound scans can be taken.

In the most serious of cases, intravenous drips can be used, but most dogs are given anti-sickness medication and recover well. 

“Just be vigilant”

Emily says no dogs have died of the suspected virus at The Forge Veterinary Centre, but she issues the following advice:

“Just be vigilant, if your dogs are showing signs of being unwell, ring the vets.

“I wouldn’t say that this is a fatal virus but we are seeing much more of it, people just need to be sensible and take them to the vets if they think something isn’t right.”