Mysterious Illness Continues To Sicken Dogs Across Northern England


When over 150 dogs who had been for walks on the beach along the northeast coast of England were reported to have contracted a mysterious illness, investigators were led to believe that the cause of their sickness was from something exclusively in the sand or sea.

But now, the same illness is spreading farther and farther inland, and this has experts second-guessing their current theories. 

Dogs on beach

Initially, the mysterious illness was believed only to be affecting dogs who had walked along the shore. But now, local vets are seeing a sudden surge of cases in dogs who not only live farther inland, but who also haven’t set a single paw on the beach. This calls any theories regarding the illness’s ties to being completely “coastally related” into question. 

Dog on beach

Most dogs who have contracted the illness are experiencing mild nausea and diarrhea. But, there is a small percentage of pups requiring veterinary care and even hospitalization. Ali Cutting, a local dog walker, shared that a quarter of her regular client’s pups have contracted the illness, but there has yet to be a clear clue for how they became ill.

“Most of them have been mild, but one of my dogs, Rocco, had it quite badly. He had to go to the vets for four or five days, but thankfully all OK now,” said Ali.

Dogs on Beach

Ali doesn’t believe her clients contracted it from each other, which has left her wondering how so many dogs have fallen ill. Current speculation has entertained the possibility that this illness is a regular, seasonal occurrence that happens to have more cases than usual this year, but not all pet parents are convinced.

Expert David McCreadie, a former senior lecturer in marine biology and oceanography, suspects that dredging, or underwater excavation, could be the cause.

“I am 99.9 percent certain that this week-long dredging operation unearthed some historical toxins. It dumped the spoil about three to four miles off. Fishermen found hundreds of dead seabirds floating at the site,” said McCreadie.

 Woman and dog on beach

However, the Environment Agency dismissed dredging as the cause of the dead crustaceans. So while multiple theories are currently being entertained and investigated, experts still haven’t agreed on a definitive cause for the source of the illness. 

The British Veterinary Association has advised residents to remain calm and reminded them that their local vet is well versed in the care of gastroenteritis. They also urged residents to call their local vet with any concerns regarding their pup’s health.


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