Dog Viruses Sweeping the UK
A sweet, white fluffy dog with floppy ears, a large brown nose and one blue eye and one brown, lays resting on the bed.

Dog Viruses Sweeping the UK

11 October 2023

Whether it’s a routine illness or something more serious, it’s never nice to see our furry friends get unwell. But that, after all, is what your vet is for!

One of the best things you can do during high-risk times of the year is keep an eye on your dog, read up about any season-related illnesses or risks, and contact your vet if you have doubts about any aspect of your dog’s health. You vet practice is best placed to let you know of any local viruses or concerns currently present in your area.

Doggy member Buddy, the Miniature Dachshund sitting on the vets table waiting for his health check

In 2023, although not known to be caused by a virus, we know there has so far been 2 cases of Alabama rot, the number of cases can rise though when the weather is wetter and by more mud being around.

Parvovirus, is also on the increase in 2023, with the Blue Cross Victoria hospital, London seeing 23 cases at the start of this year, compared to 3 in the same period last year. Reducing the risk of parvovirus is as simple as vaccinating your dog, but the Blue Cross are concerned that the cost of living crisis, combined with unscrupulous dog breeders and sellers not being honest with new pet parents about the dog's vaccination status are leading to the rise.

In 2019, a ‘mysterious’ virus was first spotted in the East Midlands. It has spread to the Gloucestershire area since then, so you might want to pay closer attention if you live near these areas of the country.

Although we don’t know exactly what this condition is yet, we are describing it as something like a form of gastroenteritis; a condition that causes the poor dog’s stomach and intestines to swell up drastically, which is very painful.

Symptoms of abdominal pain will include vomiting, diarrhoea or general discomfort. If your dog seems distressed in any way that could indicate a sore stomach, get in touch with your vet.

You can reduce your dog’s chances of developing this virus by limiting their access to foods they shouldn’t be eating. When you’re out for a walk, avoid dirty areas and overloaded bins, keeping your dog clear of unwanted bacteria. Make sure to clean their paws thoroughly when you get home because there’s a chance that bacteria could catch onto the bottom of their feet when they’re out and about. This is also useful because it will help keep your dog protected against Alabama Rot, which is also common at colder, wetter times of the year.

The most important is thing is to stay vigilant, watch out for any nasty looking foods getting into your dog’s line of site and keep their paws lovely and clean. Try not to panic too much – My Family Pet vet David Tweedle assures us that it’s common for illnesses to circulate around the dog population at this time of year, just as it is with humans.

If you have any urgent queries or if your dog appears ill, contact your vet right away – they’ll know what to do!

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

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