A national veterinary group is warning dog owners to be vigilant after an unusually high number of cases of a vomiting virus have been seen across the UK. 

Cases of the bug - which causes vomiting for up to five days, lethargy and diarrhoea - were first seen in England in early January. Now the infection appears to have spread to south Wales with a spike in cases being reported.

Parts of the Swansea Valley have especially been affected, with people who have been walking their dogs at Pontardawe Recreation Ground, in Brecon Road, reporting that their dogs have become unwell.

Claire Jones, 41, from Pontardawe, walks her four dogs at the recreation ground regularly but said she will avoid the area now after all of them fell ill within a few days.

Banjo, Buddy, Timmy and Leo have contracted the vomiting virus

She said: "One of them had an upset stomach then another became ill the following day. I didn't put it down to a bug until the weekend when the other two got symptoms as well.

"Then I saw a few people sharing about the sickness and diarrhoea bug going around England. After I posted online I saw a few other people around here have had poorly dogs too.

"I had been walking and socialising them with other dogs down the Rec (Recreation Ground) in Pontardawe for walks last week. I'm just going to keep them away from other dogs until they are better now," she said.

She was advised by her vet to use an over the counter pro-biotic paste to settle their stomachs and to take them in if the symptoms persist.

What are the symptoms?

Here is a list of things to look out for:

Vets4Pets, a national veterinary group, confirmed that their branches in Carmarthenshire and Cardiff had seen an increase in cases associated with the virus and is offering advice to concerned pet owners.

Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, vet and veterinary clinical services manager at Vets4Pets, said: "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 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." 

Vets4Pets also have "anecdotal evidence" that dogs can transmit the disease to other dogs and are asking vets that see cases of the virus to pass the details on to The Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET) at the University of Liverpool, which is currently investigating the potential outbreak.