Mysterious dog disease: DEFRA latest amid incidents on Exmouth beach

The government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says the specific cause of the reported illness that is leading to dogs falling ill has not yet been identified.

In recent weeks there have been reports across the UK of pets suffering from illness and diarrhea after taking coastal walks.

DevonLive has spoken to a number of dog owners who have claimed their pets fell ill for around 24-48 hours after visiting Exmouth Beach.

Read more here: Dogs fall seriously ill after walk on Exmouth beach

There has been speculation as to the cause of the animal illness, with some claiming it is due to a poisonous plant known as dead man’s fingers while others believe there is an insect that circulates.

Yet DEFRA confirmed work was still underway to establish the cause of the cases that appear to be sweeping the UK.

The government says it is unaware of any pets falling by the sea outside the northeast of England – despite recent incidents in Devon.

A DEFRA spokesperson said: “DEFRA and APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency) are aware of these reports and are liaising with veterinary organisations, universities and animal charities.

“As of now, no specific cause has been identified by private veterinarians involved in the treatment of affected dogs.

“If an animal shows clinical signs, the owner should seek veterinary care from their own private veterinary practice.

“DEFRA is not aware of any reports outside the North East of England.”

Speaking to Devon Live, pet owner Andy Mcnulty of Tugs Taxi’s said: “We took our Labrador to Orcombe Point on the penultimate Saturday.

“It’s the first time we’ve really taken it to the beach, we normally go up to Woodbury Common.

“While we were at Orcombe Point she didn’t chew or eat anything. We were there for about an hour and it was raining.

“The only thing she did was go into the sea and have a few bites.

“We came home and she was sick three times and didn’t eat much. She wasn’t herself.

“She’s fine now thankfully and we haven’t had to go to the vet.

“We’ve been to the Maer since and she’s been fine.”

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