VETS are warning dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, as an unusually high number of cases of gastroenteritis, specifically with profuse vomiting, is being seen in dogs across the UK.

Cases of the condition - which causes acute, profuse vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea - has recently affected dogs in various areas of the UK.

National veterinary group Vets4Pets has noticed a spike in cases across its practices within recent weeks, and is now offering advice to owners on what signs to look out for and the best next steps to take if they think their dog has contracted the virus.

Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, vet and veterinary clinical services manager at Vets4Pets, said: "Our vets across the UK have reported a general increase in cases of this condition, so we need to make dog owners aware of what signs they should be looking out for.

"Affected dogs are vomiting a lot more frequently than is typically seen with canine gastroenteritis.

"The frequency and persistence of the vomiting is quite unusual, and so it makes cases stand out.

"In some cases, dogs have been vomiting profusely for up to five days, with five or more bouts within a 12-hour period.

"Some are also suffering from diarrhoea and are lethargic and off their food.

"Should an owner suspect that their dog may be suffering from this condition, they should immediately contact their local veterinary practice for advice.

"This is obviously a very unpleasant condition for dogs, and so the quicker owners act, the faster their dog can get treatment.

"There is some anecdotal evidence that affected dogs can transmit the disease to other dogs, which is why it is important that owners keep an eye out for any signs of the condition and then contact their veterinary practice if their dog begins to display any.

"The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) at the University of Liverpool is currently investigating the potential outbreak, so it is also important that any vets that see a case pass the information on to this organisation to help them monitor the situation and then give the best advice on any future control measures.

"This is obviously very worrying for dog owners throughout the UK, but it is important that they remain calm, but vigilant, and contact their local vets if they have any concerns."

For more information and advice on dog welfare, visit www.vets4pets.com