Severe illness in dogs in Norway - update 13 September

The Norwegian Veterinary Institute-NVI, together with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, private veterinarians and many interested citizens, continues to work on clarifying the reasons behind the recent acute mortality in dogs in Norway.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has received, in the last 48hrs, reports of nine new cases of individual dogs with acute bloody diarrhoea and vomiting, of which at least one had already died. These cases originate from different areas of the country. 

The Norwegian Veterinary Institute performed two additional necropsies today (raising the total number to 14). In all, we observe acute haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Epidemiological data collected has so far failed to identify any links between these cases (race, age, feed, contact with other animals, areas where animals toured etc...). NVI will perform additional necropsies in the coming days and test samples collected from both sick and healthy dogs.

In addition to pathogens already ruled out in the beginning of this week, today’s laboratory results also allow to eliminate parvovirus (a viral disease in dogs known to cause diarrhoea and high mortalities in young dogs), and the parasites Giardia and Cryptospodiridum as causes for these acute episodes.

Work on characterizing the Providencia alcalifaciens bacteria isolates found in dead animals continues. This will provide important information to help clarifying if Providencia alcalifaciens is at the origin of the current mortality events.

Veterinarians have reported more than 100 cases by responding to the questionnaire distributed this week to more than 2000 veterinarian practitioners in Norway. This will provide essential information (e.g. movement of animals, food habits, previous episodes of disease etc…) to help clarify the origin of this increased mortality.

Collected data also shows that in situations where several dogs are living together, only a very few have become sick. This may indicate that this disease, if indeed caused by an infectious agent, may present a low risk of transmission between animals.

There continues to be no reports of similar cases in neighbouring countries and no evidence of any risk for transmission to humans.
NVI continues to recommend for dog owners to observe the indications provided by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. 

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