‘No direct link to area’s beaches’ statement after spate of dog illnesses reported across Yorkshire coast

A council has responded to reports of dogs becoming ill along the East Coast following walks along the beaches.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 12:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 7:40 am
Dog owners in Scarborough, Bridlington and Whitby have claimed their dogs have become poorly after visiting beaches and the surrounding areas.

The East Riding Council’s Coastal Services team said there are no direct links to people walking dogs on the beach and their pets subsequently becoming ill.

The team also said that some dogs are becoming unwell even though they have not visited beaches and that it could be a more general problem.

The council team’s statement comes after a number of unexplained illnesses along the coast.

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Vets across the Yorkshire Coast have been sharing advice after a spate of dog illnesses along beaches and other areas.

A post on social media by Yorkshire Coast Pet Care, which went viral on Monday (January 10), was shared to raise awareness of a number of dogs becoming ill after walking on Yorkshire Coast beaches.

In the 1,100 comments, several dog owners shared their own experiences of the unexplained illness.

Dog owners in Scarborough, Bridlington and Whitby have claimed their dogs have become poorly after visiting beaches and the surrounding areas.

In Bridlington, the claims include North Beach, South Beach, Fraisthorpe Beach, and the cliff tops.

Some of the symptoms dog owners claim their pets have include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy, lasting from a few days up to a week.

Yorkshire Coast Pet Care said it has been “inundated” with cases and advised owners to avoid the beaches until environmental health experts can figure out what is causing this illness.

However, Kirsty Salisbury, general manager (Coastal), said: “We are aware of reports on social media and in the local press of dogs becoming unwell following visiting areas of local beaches in the northern part of our coastline. We have been liaising with external partners to try and establish a cause, whilst also liaising with local colleagues, and also nationally.

“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.

“The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is aware of the incidents and is in contact with the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

“If you are unsure of anything whilst using our beach areas, please contact our Coastal Services team on 01262 678255 or email [email protected]

Scarborough Borough Council also issued a statement regarding the situation.

The council said: “We are aware of reports of dogs presenting with a sickness and diarrhoea type illness in our borough and also in neighbouring areas to the north and south.

“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 via scarborough.gov.uk.”

Aldgate Veterinary Practice, which has sites in Bridlington and Driffield, said they have seen several dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea over recent days.

Giles Moore, a vet at Aldgate Veterinary Practice, said: “Given the reports circulating about this being a beach-related issue, it is a sensible precaution to monitor closely any dogs that have been to the beach.

“If they start with vomiting, the first thing to do is to withdraw food for 24 hours.

“If they continue to vomit or become lethargic then they should contact their local vet as soon as possible. If the vomiting settles then they can start feeding bland food little and often and build back up to normal quantities over a period of a few days.”

He added: “If it’s just diarrhoea owners can continue to feed their pet bland food like chicken and rice. As with the vomiting, if it’s not resolving or they become lethargic, then they should contact their vets as soon as possible.

“Water should be made available at all times to animals with gastrointestinal signs. If they cannot hold water, then they should contact their vets.”