Mystery illness concerns vets
A local vet clinic is reporting a steep increase in cases of a severe sickness among adult dogs in the City of Karratha area.
A series of dogs admitted to Karratha Veterinary Hospital have been displaying symptoms of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which includes vomiting and bloody diarrhoea, over the past two weeks.
Karratha Veterinary Hospital veterinarian Tim Montgomery said the clinic had seen 10 to 15 “extremely severe” cases in fully vaccinated dogs within the past fortnight.
“The vast majority have had to be hospitalised for several days at least, and have had high rates of fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications and intravenous antibiotics,” he said.
“It’s been so severe that we have actually depleted our stock of intravenous fluids and antibiotics and we’ve run out of three different types of antinausea medications.
“We have sourced some through local pharmacies and have had to get some flown up especially to continue being able to treat them.
“We ran out of cages in the hospital, we had to set up temporary dog crates.”
Dogs from the Karratha, Dampier, Roebourne, Wickham and Point Samson areas have been affected.
Dr Montgomery said while vets did not yet know what was causing the spate of these cases, it had coincided with the rain and a surge in parvovirus in puppies.
Karratha Mobile Veterinary Services vet Dr Lisa Pearce said she had seen only three recent cases that looked “very similar” to HGE but turned out to be something different.
Dr Montgomery said the cases they had seen were serious enough to be life-threatening if untreated and asked people to call the clinic if their dog showed symptoms.
“We encourage anyone who notices these symptoms to call the vet ... because once (the dogs) get quite debilitated from the dehydration, it takes a lot longer to recover them,” he said.
Karratha Veterinary Hospital is the only local vet service that hospitalises animals.