DOG owners in Stratford are being urged to take precautions after a mystery illness claimed the lives of a number of dogs.
Vets in the town have seen a rush of dogs suffering with gastroenteritis-like symptoms, including vomiting and
diarrhea, but they do not know if the illness is a bacterial or viral infection, or where it originated from.
Social media has abounded with rumours from dog owners who regularly walk their pets on the Greenway, the Recreation Ground, the Racecourse, and Bridgetown Meadowlands. Speculation has ranged from chemical spraying to Japanese hogweed as the cause.
Richard Lindsay, vet and director of Ark Veterinary Practice on Birmingham Road, said they had seen some 30 dogs in about ten days.
He said: “We have seen many more cases than we would normally. The vast majority respond very quickly to treatment, and most go home the same day, but there have been fatalities, although I don’t know exactly how many.
“From time to time these sort of infections do happen, and we don’t always know the cause. They usually run their course, and while they are doing so need it is important owners take sensible precautions.”
He advised owners not to walk dogs in communal areas and to follow strict hygiene procedures, from disposing of dog mess to washing hands properly.
Mr Lindsay added if whatever caused the outbreak was water borne, it could have found its way onto land via floodwaters last month, and now with the dry weather, it could disappear just as quickly as it arrived.
The Great British Greyhound walk which was set to take place in Stratford on Sunday (June 22) has been cancelled.
Organiser Norman Gee said: “We normally have 60 dogs on this walk and the danger to all those is obviously too great to risk so we decided to cancel.”
Stratford District Council said no spraying had been carried out in recent weeks which could have responsible for the outbreak.
Warwickshire County Council’s animal health team is continuing to investigate.