Warning for Burnley dog owners to be vigilant after outbreak of sickness bug

Dog owners in Burnley have been warned to be vigilant after an outbreak of a sickness bug that is affecting pets across the borough.

Several owners have reported their pets becoming ill with a strain of gastroenteritis that can strike rapidly and is characterized by a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cocker Spaniel Max, who is five, has been a victim of a nasty bug affecting pets in Burnley and across Lancashire.

Cocker Spaniel Max, who is five, has been a victim of a nasty bug affecting pets in Burnley and across Lancashire.

Both of Burnley dog owner Lindsay Wilkinson's pets have been struck down with the virus in the past couple of days.

And while Max, a seven-year-old Springer Spaniel, seemed to start pickng up after 24 hours her younger dog Cocker Spaniel Max (five) is still poorly.

Lindsay said: "Both have been so sick with diarrhoea and neither of them has been eating.

"They have been so wiped out we have had to carry them round, this really has knocked them for six.

Springer Spaniel Max was ill or 24 hours with gastronestoeitisi

Springer Spaniel Max was ill or 24 hours with gastronestoeitisi

"Barney had stomach cramps and I could feel him tensing up then he would cry, it was horrible to see him in such distress."

Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Food and bile are typically vomited, although small amount of blood may also be present. Affected pets are usually not interested in food and may feel unwell.

Animal experts have advised dog owners to consult their vets if their pet shows signs of gastroenteritis that last for longer than 24 hours.

In order to try to prevent gastroenteritis in dogs, owners are advised to ensure vaccinations and worming are both up to date.

Max and Barney are normally full of energy and life.

Max and Barney are normally full of energy and life.

There are various causes of the bug but the most common ones are if the dog has eaten unusual or spoiled food, toxins, viruses or bacteria, and in older pets underlying health problems such as liver or kidney disease.

Paul Calway, who is the Clinical Director at Burnley based Oakmount Veterinary Centre said he had seen a spike in the number of dogs coming for treatment for the virus which he said was not unusual at this time of year.

He said: "In the past few weeks we have had around three or four dogs at the surgery on a daily basis with this virus

"Symptoms usually last for 24 to 48 hours and we recommend that dog owners take their pets to a vets if they last longer than that or the dog continues to be sick while only drinking water or if they seem depressed within themselves."

Mr Calway added that owners should offer bland food, such as chicken or boiled rice, to their pets once they start to recover and make sure they have plenty of water.

He added: "The recovery period for this virus is usually three to four days."

As gastroenteritis can be caused by many different things it’s hard to totally prevent, but there are ways in which dog owners can reduce the risk of their pet becoming ill such as discouraging them from scavenging and eating food they pick up while out and about.

Switching a dog's diet can also cause health problems so experts advise doing this slowly to allow the animal time to adjust.

If your dog has gastroenteritis it is also advised to not let it mix with other animals to prevent the spread of the virus.