Warning after dogs left 'limp or lifeless' by mystery illness

The three Shih Tzus belonging to Ema Scott Rowlands and Laurie Scott from Southrepps; clockwise from top left, Sidney

The three Shih Tzus belonging to Ema Scott Rowlands and Laurie Scott from Southrepps; clockwise from top left, Sidney, Dennis and Dotty. Dennis and Dotty fell ill after after Ema took them for a walk. - Credit: Laurie Scott

A dog owner has warned people to take care when out walking their pets after two of his three Shih Tzus came down with a mystery illness. 

It follows reports of an unidentified bug that has been blamed for leaving dozens of dogs across the country "limp" or "lifeless" after beach walks. 

Laurie Scott, from Southrepps, said vets did not believe his dogs Dennis and Dotty had come down with that illness because the symptoms were different, but staff had told him they had seen "quite an influx" of pets with similar symptoms. 

Ema Scott Rowlands with the family dogs Dennis, left,

Ema Scott Rowlands with the family dogs Dennis, left, Dotty, above, and Sidney. Dennis and Dotty fell ill after after Ema took them for a walk. - Credit: Supplied by Laurie Scott

Mr Scott said that on a walk, his wife, Ema, had seen the dogs go off into the distance and "were clearly nibbling something in the long grass", and they later fell ill. 

He said: "Ema had taken them out on a field where she walks them regularly. After they got home, they didn't have their usual energy.

"Dennis was sat there upright like a Sphinx staring into space. 

"We took them to Westover Vets in North Walsham, and the staff were brilliant, I can't praise them highly enough.

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"They kept Dotty in overnight on a drip to keep an eye on her, and we were potential very upset.

"When we picked her up the following afternoon she still had a very high temperature of 41 degrees."

Ema Scott Rowlands is leaving Breakers cafe in Cromer. With husband Laurie Scott.

File photo of Laurie Scott and Ema Scott Rowlands outside their former cafe, Breakers cafe in Cromer. - Credit: David Bale

After posting about the incident on social media, someone suggested the dogs could have eaten rat poison found on their walk.

Mr Scott said: "It is possibly that but we will probably never know. They are both now seemingly recovered. Westover did say to us they had seen an influx of pets with similar problems."

Earlier this month some national newspapers reported a disease had struck down dozens of dogs across England, leaving them vomiting and with diarrhoea. 

The Scotts' dogs did not have those symptoms, so it is not thought to be the same disease, but Mr Scott said their experience was still a wake-up call for himself and others.

He said: "Make sure your insurance is up to date, and take a bit of care when you are walking your dogs."

Westover Vets has also been contacted for a comment.