This is what you need to know about the illness.
Staff at Wear Referrals in Bradbury have had to take on treatment of a number of dogs suffering from the same symptoms in recent weeks, Teesside Live reports.
In reference to one case, specialist Nicki Redd said, “When [the dog] arrived with us, he was already in shock as a result of hypovolemia and sepsis. He was dehydrated and was breathing heavily.
“An ultrasound scan of his abdomen showed the bowel was was severely ulcerated and in places it was only 0.6mm thick. In addition, gas had travelled from the bowel to the lymph nodes and liver.”
The dog received a plasma transfusion, along with intravenous antibiotics and analgesia, as well as a fluid resuscitation and supportive medication for ulceration and nausea.
Redd said, “Within 48 hours, he was eating again. A second scan documented how bowel wall was recovering and he was finally discharged from the hospital four days after admission.
“He is continuing to improve and is nearly back to normal but he could very easily have died from this condition, as he was at high risk of bowel perforation.”
Wear’s hospital manager Darren Stubbs told Teesside Live that the root cause of the outbreak continues to remain a mystery, which means that dog owners need to be extra vigilant.
He said, “The [dogs] appeared to show an initial improvement at first, but then rapidly deteriorated.
“This may mean there’s a novel viral agent, such as the vesivirus, which was identified in an outbreak in Virginia in 2015, or a toxic agent such as mushrooms which have been suggested to be involved in a recent outbreak of acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea in Norway.”
What to look out for
The hospital says that owners should take no chances if their pet is suddenly hit by a prolonged bout of diarrhoea and sickness - especially if it is “bloody and persistent”.
Speaking about their dog Roker who was hit by the same symptoms, Gareth and Joanne Devine told Teesside Live that getting their furry friends the correct treatment was more difficult than you’d think.
Gareth said, “At the start, no-one realised the severity of Roker’s condition. He was seen by four different vets from two practices, six visits over a period of 11 days, before we were referred to Wear and discovered how much danger he was in.
“We were so shocked that we could lose Roker to something so common-place and seemingly benign as sickness and diarrhoea but he’d become so poorly we were prepared for the worst.”