A campaign to warn dog owners about the spread of a particularly unpleasant sickness bug is underway. The bug causes vomiting and diarrhea, and blood in stool has been reported. The number of cases reported at veterinary practices across the UK has been steadily increasing. Symptoms of the bug, which is thought to be canine gastroenteritis, include vomiting for many days in a row, excessive diarrhea and blood in the stools. Some dogs have been reported to be vomiting for 5+ consecutive days.

What should I look out for?

The symptoms described above are the main warning signs. Keep an eye on your dog, and take him/her to the vet if:

There is prolonged vomiting that lasts 5 or more days

You observe excessive diarrhoea and blood in the stool

Your dog appears lethargic or run down

Your dog is off his/her food

Vets all over the country are warning dog owners to keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs. The warnings come after suspected cases of the bug have risen sharply all over the UK. The number of dogs coming into veterinary practices with vomiting and diarrhea is roughly double what's expected for the time of year.

Dogs appear to respond best to treatment when the bug is caught early on. With most dog owners keeping up with worming treatments, it's thought that bacteria and viruses are the probable cause of the sickness.

How is diagnosis carried out?

Veterinarians will explore your dog's medical history in-depth and perform a physical examination. This will generally include taking the dog's temperature and carrying out a blood test. Depending on the results of these tests, there may also be x-rays and/or canine ultrasound scans taken to examine what's causing the vomiting and diarrhea.

Most dogs will be treated with anti-nausea medication, but some will need to be kept on an intravenous drip to keep their fluids up. Cases of the suspected bug have cropped up far and wide. It is thought to be as widespread as Liverpool, Norfolk, and Colchester, so be particularly vigilant if you live in one of those areas. If you suspect your dog may be ill, don't hesitate to get to your vet and seek treatment early on.