Mystery disease that has killed scores of dogs in Norway has now spread to Sweden and claimed its first victim
- Some 43 canine deaths in Norway since August has panicked pet owners
- And 173 dogs across have displayed symptoms of bloody diarrhoea and vomiting
- The Swedish pooch had recently returned from Norway when it fell fatally ill
A mysterious dog-killing disease that is sweeping Scandinavia has claimed the life of the first Swedish pooch.
The deaths of 43 canines in Norway since August has panicked the country’s pet owners and prompted vets to urgently investigate the unknown illness.
Some 173 dogs across 90 different breeds have so far displayed symptoms of the disease, which includes bloody diarrhoea, violent vomiting and fatigue.
Such warning signs were observed in the case of the Swedish dog, which had recently returned from Norway when it fell fatally ill.
Two dogs can be seen above playing in a park in Norway’s capital city of Oslo. Reports of the illness all first came from the capital city but sick dogs soon popped up across the country (file photo)
Of the 43 deaths, 15 autopsies have been performed and found the bacteria Providencia alcalifaciens festering in 12 of the carcasses, but it is too early to confirm this as the cause.
Norway’s Veterinary Institute has revealed that the highest number of sick dogs have come from the Oslo area, but pooches have also been killed in Akershus and Vestfold.
In conjunction with the Food Safety Authority, vets have ruled out anthrax, salmonella, yeast and mushroom poisoning, EHEC and several other toxins.
Alaskan Huskeys, Jack Russells and Yorkshire Terriers are among the multiple breeds which have been contaminated.
Moreover, there are no underlying traits – age, diet, contact with other dogs – common to all the victims which is suggestive of a cause of this mystery illness.
Diarrhoea is a relatively common sickness in dogs, but vets have warned that this outbreak has seen a more violent strain of the disease than usual.
Bjarne Bergsjo, scientist and leader of the bacteriology laboratory at the Veterinary Institute in Norway, works in his laboratory in Oslo, Norway, trying to trace the cause of the mystery illness
In a statement, government authorities said: ‘In recent weeks, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has received numerous reports from veterinarians about dogs with bloody diarrhea.
‘Some of the dogs have died, but most of them recover after treatment by a veterinarian. The cause of the illness is currently unknown.
‘Our advice to dog owners is constantly updated. We still recommend dog owners to limit close contact between dogs and to keep dogs on leash so that they are controlled.
‘In addition to the general advice, dog owners with sick or dead dogs are encouraged to keep samples of what the dog has eaten for the past 14 days, so that one can take samples if needed.’
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority advice to dog owners
Restrict close contact with other dogs, but make sure your dog gets the ventilation and exercise it needs.
Dog collections should be avoided or carried out in a way that limits contact between dogs.
Do not let your dog greet or sniff at other dogs on a walk.
Pick up stools for your dog and throw them in a trash can.
Avoid the dog sniffing or eating things in the ditch where other dogs have been.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice bloody diarrhea, vomiting and rapidly deteriorating general condition of your dog.
Call the veterinarian before taking an emergency sick dog to the clinic.
Follow the vaccine recommendations of the veterinarian.