Spring has sprung, and with the warmer weather on our doorsteps there is plenty more opportunities to get our pooches out in the fresh air. For many people, this means a trip to the beach – but is it safe?
The East Coast has some of the best beaches in the country for people and dogs alike. However, recently dog owners have been warned off taking their pooch to the coast, reports Yorkshire Live.
At the end of last year and continuing into the start of 2022, there was a widespread mystery dog illness that left many pet owners anxious. Unfortunately it left some dogs even fighting for their life.
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Was the illness connected to the beach?
At the time of the outbreak, Brogan Proud, a veterinary nurse who runs the Yorkshire Coast Pet Care, said: “I work within several practices up and down the North East coast and we have recently been inundated with dogs coming off the beaches with vomiting and diarrhoea.
“Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any correlation other than contact with the beach so maybe ensure they don’t eat anything on the beach and wash them off if they’ve been to the beach in case it is a toxin or similar.”
Following a thorough investigation by DEFRA and by researchers at SAVSNET, the small animal veterinary network, there was no evidence found that could link beaches alone to the mystery illness.
Are case rates going down?
In fact, as of March and the latest update from SAVSNET, the network confirmed cases are going down, with many vets believing the cause of the infection was likely to be a seasonal canine coronavirus. This is a commonly occurring and self-limiting bug that frequently occurs in the colder months.
The virus, despite its name, bears no relation to the human strain of coronavirus. It is a commonly occurring virus that has been around for decades, although usually it only causes mild symptoms.
Is it safe to visit the beach with your dog again?
“My advice for beach walking now would be to enjoy the beaches but as always be vigilant with what dogs eat or pick up while out walking,” said Brogan in a recent Instagram post.
The Yorkshire Coast Pet Care nurse also revealed she had started taking her own dog back on the beach at Whitby and one week after exposure had no ill effects to reports.
“Beach Update: This past week I have purposefully taken my dog to Robin hoods bay/Boggle hole beach and monitored him for any signs of him becoming ill. Fingers crossed so far he has been absolutely fine.
“He swims and explores but does not eat or pick up anything on the beach (I know rare for a Labrador!).”
While this is definitely good news, it’s still important to remain vigilant and look out for any changes in your pet’s health and behaviour. If your dog does begin to show symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea, the illness is usually self limiting and will resolve on it’s own, but if the condition persists or your pet is showing signs of distress, always remember to seek guidance from your local vet.