Fatal dog illness keeps spreading

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Norwegian veterinary authorities fear a mysterious and potentially fatal dog illness is spreading quickly around the country. Several hundred dogs are believed to have been infected, and some died before their owners could them to a vet.

Norway’s mysterious dog illness is getting lots of attention in Norwegian media, like here on the front page of newspaper VG. The dog pictured fell ill and died within 24 hours. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Cases of dogs suddenly suffering bloody diarrhea and vomiting blood first started being registered in the Oslo area. Then cases occurred north in Trøndelag and to the east in Hedmark, with more now coming to light in Rogaland and Aurland in Sogn og Fjordane in Western Norway.

The illness has affected many types of dogs of all ages and it sets in swiftly. Dog owners have reported that their pets have been fine in the morning, and extremely ill in the afternoon. All dog owners are being urged to get their sick pets to a veterinarian as quickly as possible to begin intravenous treatment.

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It hasn’t always worked. Torstein Holten of Hamar, owner of a seven-year-old vorstehhund (pointer) named Lexi, told state broadcaster NRK on Friday that he’d been out running 10 kilometers with her last Monday. On Tuesday she had diarrhea and started throwing up.

He got her to a vet on Thursday where she was treated for several hours before the family was told they could take her home but bring her back if her condition worsened. The next morning the Holten family found Lexi dead in the hallway and the family is crushed. “There’d been no earlier sign of any problems,” Holten told NRK, stressing that Lexi was healthy and strong and liked going on long walks and runs. He’d looked forward to go hunting with her when the season starts next week: “There will be no hunting this year. This is very sad, she was a member of the family. There were lots of tears at our house Friday morning.”

Keeping dogs isolated
As more cases (around 300, according to state authorities) were reported this Friday in Moss, Hønefoss and around Romerike, authorities haven’t yet been able to find a link. They were hoping to get coordinated results soon of tests conducted on both sick and dead dogs after several including Lexi have been sent for autopsy.

Dog owners were urged to watch their dogs closely, react quickly to symptoms such as sluggishness, vomiting and diarrhea and keep them away from all other dogs. All events involving dogs around southern Norway this weekend have been cancelled, and hunting season may have fewer out with their dogs this year.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund