Reassurances after dog health concerns

Craigavon Borough Council has issued an assurance Lurgan Park is safe to walk dogs following claims a flu virus is circulating there.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 4:00 pm
Peter Morrow's dogs. Zac (cemtre) passed away on Saturday.

The assurance comes after a Lurgan man, Peter Morrow, claimed his dog had died from a flu-like illness following a walk in the park.

The ‘MAIL’ has contacted local vet clinics who have scotched any suggestion of a deadly epidemic but have said that, just as in humans, there is a flu virus ‘doing the rounds’.

Following a Facebook post on Monday night, clinics have reported an upsurge in inquiries concerned about the illness and have been reassuring dog owners over the claims

According to the expert opinion the gastric bug is something normal for this time of year.

Peter Morrow, however, is adamant the illness claimed the life of his seven-year-old Toy Poodle Zac.

He said: “A serious ‘dog flu’ is sweeping Lurgan Park. The symptoms are high temperature vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. My (local) vet has confirmed ‘numerous dogs’ reporting with this condition to their surgery. My vet said he had ‘never seen anything like it before’.”

The ‘MAIL’ has been unable to speak to the vet in question but other surgeries have been quick to say there is no cause for alarm and the illness is entirely routine.

Mr Morrow said the illness which killed his dog had come back three or four times over a given period. He added: “My Toy Poodles have caught this ‘flu’ several times. And yes their vaccinations are all up to date. And yes I stopped going into Lurgan Park when it recurred. And no I was not aware it was potentially fatal.”

He said he was aware of one other dog that had died.

When asked how he knows the ‘virus’ had emanated from Lurgan Park he replied: “It’s the only place I walked my dogs. The other dog that died was also only walked there.

“I contacted the dog warden two weeks ago updated him of the situation at that time.” He has also contacted Craigavon Environmental Health today and, of course, the Lurgan Mail.

Mr Morrow had also posted his claims on Facebook, which sparked the local health scare.

An ABC Council spokesperson said, “Council would like to reassure all dog owners that Lurgan Park is a safe place to walk your dogs. Council has been made aware that a dog has recently died due to contracting a virus. There is no evidence to link this virus to Lurgan Park. Council has spoken to local vets throughout the area who have said that dogs can be affected by a gastric flu which can occur at any time of year. There appears to have been a spike in cases around a month ago, which is now on the decline.”