Earlier this week a post by veterinary nurse Brogan Proud, of Yorkshire Coast Pet Care, was widely shared and claimed that the surgery had been 'inundated' with dogs suffering from sickness and diarrhoea after being walked on beaches such as Robin Hood's Bay and Fraisthorpe.
Both Scarborough and East Riding councils later issued statements denying that there was a link to the beaches and said no pollution or other suspicious incidents had been reported or detected.
Now Aireworth Vets in Keighley has confirmed that the mystery illness is being seen inland.
Clinical director Peter O’Hagan said they are now seeing cases in the Keighley area. Two dogs treated at the Aireworth Road practice became seriously ill and had to be hospitalised.
Symptoms to look out for include vomiting, blood in diarrhoea, lethargy and loss of appetite.
The cause is yet unclear but Aireworth Vets is advising owners to keep their dogs on a lead so they can keep a closer eye on them and stop them eating something they shouldn’t.
Mr O’Hagan said: “My colleagues in practice are seeing a few cases and the most severe ones are on fluids in the hospital and require careful feeding and close monitoring. They are making slow and steady improvement, thankfully.
“We don’t know what’s causing it, but we would advise owners to keep a close eye on their dogs when out walking and to contact their vet at the earliest opportunity if their dog becomes ill. If they speak to their vet and get their dog checked over. As a profession we are well geared up to treat dogs with gastroenteritis.
“Elderly dogs or dogs with underlying conditions are more of a worry because they are more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill.”
East Riding Council statement
“From reports from local veterinary surgeries, the illness they are seeing within dogs and the tests carried out have not provided any direct links with the use of beaches.
“We would advise that, if your pet becomes unwell and has continuing sickness and diarrhoea, you should make an appointment to have your pet seen. It appears that many dogs are becoming unwell even though they have not visited beaches, so it may be that this is a general illness amongst dogs.
"Our Coastal Services team regularly inspect the beaches for signs of any irregular occurrences and at present there is nothing unusual; however, this will continue to be monitored and action will be taken, if and when necessary.
“We encourage people to be aware and mindful, and if they are on the beach, or anywhere, not to let their dogs off the lead, so that owners can see what the dogs are picking up and potentially eating.”
Scarborough Council statement
“The cause of the illness, and the locations it appears to be linked to, are unclear.
“While dogs walked on beaches have been affected, we have also read reports from dog owners that the same symptoms are affecting dogs only walked at inland locations away from beaches.
“We are in discussions with our partner organisations to gather intelligence and carry out investigations into possible causes.
“If any vets have information about possible links to a canine virus that could help these investigations, we kindly ask them to contact our dog warden service.”