Several dogs in the Oslo area have recently been suffering sudden and fatal illnesses after a routine walk in a park. Veterinarians and state officials are sounding alarms, while upcoming events involving dogs are being cancelled.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday that dog owners were being warned against walking their dogs in parks in and around Oslo. The warnings came after vets logged numerous cases of dogs suddenly developing bloody diarrhea and vomiting, shortly after they’d been walked in Oslo parks. In some cases, the dogs have died while their owners were taking them to the vet.
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By Thursday afternoon, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) was reporting more cases of seriously ill dogs with the same symptoms in Tynset, Trøndelag, Tønsberg, Hamar, Moss, Hønefoss and Lørenskog as well as Oslo. Veterinarians all over the country were under pressure to respond to calls for help.
“This is incredibly frightening,” Peter Kvalsvik, whose dog Nomi was among those falling ill after a walk in Oslo’s Ekeberg Park on Tuesday, told NRK. “Especially when we don’t know how she was infected and what the illness actually is.”
His drama began in the early morning hours of Wednesday when Nomi began throwing up. First it was just the food she’d eaten, but then came constant vomiting and she began to throw up blood. Kvalsvik rushed her to an emergency clinic where she was treated intravenously and given both pain killers and anti-nausea medication. She recovered but was still extremely weak on Thursday and had no appetite.
Kvalsvik has two dogs, but only Nomi fell ill, not the other dog.
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Norway’s animal- and food safety authority Mattilsynet was working closely Thursday with the state Veterinarian Institute, the Veterinarian College and other animal hospitals to uncover the reason for the outbreak of chronic vomiting and diarrhea. Officials suspected a virus or bacterial infection but were awaiting test results from both sick and dead dogs.
“There’s no systematic overview of the cases, but we think at least 20 dogs have died so far,” and many more are ill, veterinarian Sasja Rygg of the Anicura Norge chain of veterinary clinics told NRK. The vets were also looking for any commonalities among the dogs, for example if they’ve eaten the same brand of dog food that may have been contaminated.
“We can’t rule that out, but we don’t know,” Anne Margaret Grøndahl of Mattilsynet told NRK. She described the wave of illness as “very serious,” adding that “we’re using lots of resources to find out why so many dogs are so sick.”