A canine gastrointestinal sickness outbreak is currently sweeping the United Kingdom, with researchers suspecting a coronavirus as the cause. Since early 2022, more cases of the sickness, which is not the novel COVID-19 coronavirus we’ve all grown to know and loathe, have been documented. With cases on the rise, the University of Liverpool’s Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) decided to look into it.
They were able to establish with vets that symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting were actually appearing in dogs across the country, corroborating social media accusations that canines were sick. Although the exact source of the outbreak is unknown, early examinations appear to show that it began in Yorkshire, a county in northern England. While much about the unusual sickness is still unknown, SAVSNET has uncovered some information regarding its symptoms and contagiousness.
In a statement, SAVSNET noted that “the most prevalent clinical indicators described were [lack of appetite], vomiting, and diarrhea, both without blood.” “Of the 88 dog owners who had more than one dog, the majority (56) noted that additional dogs in the family had displayed identical signs, presumably indicating an infectious origin.” The good news is that the majority of canines appear to recover within 7-14 days, despite the fact that over 60% of them required treatment.”
Vaccinations had been given to almost all of the affected canines during the previous three years. They also hadn’t been to a beach before becoming unwell, putting to rest early fears that the outbreak was linked to the water. Canine enteric coronavirus (CECoV), a disease that caused a similar outbreak in the UK from 2019 to 2020, is one suspect. If the suggestion of a circulating coronavirus makes your heart race, keep in mind that while CECoV is related to SARS-CoV-2, it’s a completely distinct virus that isn’t expected to be capable of spreading to humans.
While CECoV, which is extremely contagious among dogs, does cause illness in dogs, many of those that are infected are asymptomatic or have just moderate symptoms. It can also be easily neutralized with common household cleaning chemicals (so don’t make chlorine gas by accident again). If you feel your dog is a victim of the UK outbreak, SASNET is encouraging owners to fill out this questionnaire and keep feces samples for examination in the hopes of pinpointing the specific cause. More information and advice can be found here.