Dog owners beware

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While the recent outbreak of bird flu cases on Arran currently presents little immediate risk to human health, it presents a clear danger to pets, in particular dogs, who may help spread the virus.

As the extent of situation unfolds, the one thing that has become clear is that containment measures are critical in helping to curb the transmission and mutation of the virus.

Avian flu can be spread and transmitted through direct and indirect contact with faeces and feathers, as well as on organic matter such as soil, sand and grass. The advice from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs is to stay well away from any sick and dying birds and to keep your pets as far away as possible.

Added to this is the seasonal threat of blue-green algae which can develop in bodies of water during the summer. The high concentrations of toxins in blue-green algae can cause liver failure in dogs and is often fatal. Keeping your dog on a lead during walks, for the time being, is recommended as a precautionary measure.

Thankfully bird to human transmission of the H5N1 virus is rare, but not impossible, and cases of dogs becoming infected is also relatively low, but not without consequence.