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Black Labrador, Tobie, ‘really ill’ after eating washed up fish on beach

PUBLISHED: 15:37 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:04 17 January 2018

Tobie playing on the beach at Holkham, where he loves going for walks. Photo: Doug Thompson

Tobie playing on the beach at Holkham, where he loves going for walks. Photo: Doug Thompson

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A black Labrador has been taken seriously ill after consuming several washed up fish on a north Norfolk beach.

Map key - Red pin: Confirmed death, Yellow pin: Reported sickness

Doug Thompson, 60, took his Labrador, Tobie, for a walk from Burnham Staithe towards Holkham on Sunday, January 1.

Tobie became seriously ill after ingesting two or three of the small flat fish which have been reportedly washing up in coastal areas across the region.

Mr Thompson, who has a degree in marine biology, said: “The beach was strewn with small green sea urchins and the 12-legged Solaster starfish.

“I’ve never seen this before. These creatures are bottom feeders. I’m guessing a tanker has flushed its tanks over an outlying reef.”

Tobie, Doug Thompson's black Labrador, has been taken seriously ill after ingesting washed up fish on a north Norfolk beach. Photo: Doug ThompsonTobie, Doug Thompson's black Labrador, has been taken seriously ill after ingesting washed up fish on a north Norfolk beach. Photo: Doug Thompson

Mr Thompson described Tobie, who he has had from a puppy, as being “really ill”.

He said: “Tobie is being kept at the vets. He has had bloods taken and is on a drip to flush and give him antibiotics.

“He was a retirement present from my family six years ago. He loves walks on Holkham beach.”

Mr Thompson, who is from Greenham Rutland, appealed for information about what could have caused Tobie’s sickness.

He said: “It would be interesting to know what’s caused such a poisoning.”

He encouraged anyone with any knowledge about a potential contamination to come forward.

He also expressed a warning to other dog owners about the risks posed by any washed up marine life, or carcasses, which could cause a threat to dogs’ health.

He advised: “Perhaps walk them on a lead for the first 10 minutes while making initial observations.

“There is always flotsam on the strand line but this is very unusual, so please beware.”

Marine life and carcasses have continued to wash up on to north Norfolk beaches, since being first reported at the end of December.

Mark Herring said that he had photographed “literally thousands of urchins, whelks and cockles washed up on the tide line between Holkam and Wells” on Tuesday, January 2.

He added: “I’ve also witnessed many small flat fish and starfish washed up between Cley and Sheringham over the weekend.”

Dixie Dean reported seeing “literally hundreds of dead and dying starfishes and anemones all along the beach at Salthouse last Thursday [December 28],” in addition to a “dead, headless seal cub”.

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