Norway's dogs are being hit by a mystery illness

AFP - [email protected] • 9 Sep, 2019 Updated Mon 9 Sep 2019 16:21 CEST
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Dog owners have been warned to limit contact with other dogs as the result of a mystery illness which has affected hundreds of dogs in Norway in recent weeks. Currently, around 25 dogs have died as a result of the illness.

Symptoms of the disease, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fatigue, have showed in around 200 dogs, according to Norway’s Veterinary Institute. Though it’s important to note that these statistics are estimates, since Norway does not have a national register. 

 "What is a little strange with this illness is that it has struck quite a large number of otherwise healthy dogs in a short period of time and very swiftly," according to Ann Margaret Grondahl a Norwegian food safety authority official.

What is the Disease?

Asle Haukaans, a spokesperson for the Veterinary Institute, told AFP “this doesn't necessarily mean that it's the same illness, as there are lots of illnesses that can lead to these kinds of symptoms in dogs”.

Though when autopsies were carried out on 10 dogs, each case revealed a severe intestinal infection. Five of the dogs experienced  "abnormally elevated levels" of two bacteria, Clostridium perfringens and Providencia alcalifaciens.

The Veterinary Institute has ruled out salmonella, Campylobacteria and the accidental consummation of rat poisoning. Meanwhile, several theories about the cause of the illness have been circulating on social media, such as a virus, a bacteria, food poisoning, or intentional poisoning. 

What do the authorities advise? 

Health authorities are warning owners to keep their dogs on a lead, and as a result of the mysterious outbreak,  many owners have stopped taking their pets to public areas and a number of dog shows and gatherings have been cancelled.

At the first sign of symptoms, dog owners are urged to bring their pets to a veterinarian. Whilst the illness has appeared mostly in greater Oslo, there have been a number of cases elsewhere in Norway. 

There is nothing to indicate at this stage that the illness can be transmitted to humans.



AFP 2019/09/09 16:21

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