MAF assists with North Shore beach dog death investigations

5 August 2009

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) is helping Auckland authorities to determine the cause of dog illness and death following visits to the city's North Shore beaches.

In recent weeks a number of cases of ill dogs have been reported to MAFBNZ, including two deaths. The key sign shown by the affected dogs has been repeated vomiting with quick recovery, although a small number of animals have developed seizures and died.

To date MAFBNZ has investigated several incidents - four dogs from Narrowneck Beach, one from Browns Bay and one from Waiheke Island. There are further reports in today to investigate.

So far, tests have failed to show any clear reason for the illness or death. Pathology results from a dog that died yesterday (Tues 4 August) are pending and expected within this week. There has been nothing so far to indicate the situation is due to any form of chemical or pesticide poisoning.

At the same time, MAFBNZ has been investigating unusually large numbers of pilchards washing up on beaches further north of Auckland near Whangaparaoa Peninsula and Martins Bay. Pilchards have been submitted to MAFBNZ's diagnostic laboratories to rule out a disease, with results expected early next week.

It is too soon to tell if there is any connection between the dead fish and the dog illness, but given that they occurred in different locations, they are being treated as unrelated at this time.

MAFBNZ endorses Auckland Regional Public Health Service recommendations that people avoid exercising pets on Hauraki Gulf beaches, that they avoid taking children to the beaches and that they should not collect shellfish from the Hauraki Gulf until more is known about the cause of the dog illness.

Dog owners whose animals experience illness following contact with North Shore beaches should seek immediate advice from their vet.

MAFBNZ encourages people who find unusual numbers of dead fish or other marine life to report this to the pest and disease hotline: 0800 80 99 66.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service also has additional information:

For further information, please contact:

Lesley Patston, Senior Communications Adviser, 04 8940163

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33