No canine blood diarrhoea outbreak in Finland for the time being

September 12/2019

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has reported severe bloody diarrhoea in several dogs in Norway. The cause of the outbreak in dogs is not yet known. So far, no similar clustering in a particular locality or area has been detected in Finland. The Finnish Food Authority is monitoring the situation and  will report more as needed.

For the time being, no clear single cause of the canine disease has been found in Norway. No transmissible cause has been identified in the dogs, and no linking factors have been found between the affected dogs in the initial background survey. The investigation is still ongoing and may take weeks.

In Finland, isolated cases of hemorrhagic bowel disease in dogs occur quite regularly throughout the year. The disease is now known as AHDS, or acute hemorrhagic diarrhoea syndrome, formerly known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or HGE.

The causes triggering the disease are still poorly known, but it is not considered infectious from one dog to another. The disease has been associated with severe disruption of the intestinal bacterial balance and uncontrolled growth of certain bacteria, typically Clostridium bacteria. These bacteria can produce a variety of bacterial toxins that damage the intestinal mucous membrane. It is not yet fully certain whether bacterial overgrowth is the original cause or consequence of the disease. These bacteria also occur in the intestines of healthy animals and in the environment.

Usually, the disease occurs in isolated cases, but local outbreaks are also possible. In Finland, the last major outbreak was detected in Eastern Finland about 10 years ago. Often the disease occurs more in the warm late summer and autumn.

The symptoms of the disease usually include sudden onset and rapid progress. If a dog develops diarrhoea or vomiting with plenty of blood and its general condition worsens (fatigue, weakness), a veterinarian must be contacted as soon as possible.

Read the Finnish Food Authority’s bulletin: The Finnish Food Authority advises caution when importing dogs from Norway

More information
the Finnish Kennel Club's Board  the Norwegian authorities’ bulletins
the Norwegian authorities’ bulletins
Informasjon fra Mattilsynet
Informasjon fra Veterinærinstituttet

Further information:
Senior Researcher Outi Simola
+358 50 462 7862, pathological veterinary research of pets
Senior Inspector Virva Valle
+358 40 489 3359, travel regulations