A MYSTERY virus is killing puppies in West Oxfordshire.

One Witney vet alone has seen 15 animals with a bug characterised by severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea, making dogs seriously ill extremely quickly.

For those with weaker immune systems, particularly puppies, this can result in death, but there appears to be no case-by-case pattern.

Mandy Bevan-Talbot, from Crawley, near Witney, lost seven-month-old Labradors Fitz and Harper to the disease last month, days after symptoms started appearing.

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She was heartbroken by the sudden deaths, but after hearing similar stories she set up the Facebook group ‘What Happened To Our Fur-Babies?’ to try and pin down a cause.

She said: “For the last few weeks we had been beating ourselves up about it, asking if we’d done anything wrong.

“The grief has been awful.”

The puppies' mother, Quinn, also lives with the window cleaner, 54, but was completely unaffected, while three of the puppies' siblings recovered from the virus.

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Fitz and Harper, pictured centre and right above, were treated at The CornYard Veterinary Centre, Witney, which described the cause as Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis, characterised by sudden vomiting and bloody diarrhoea.

Dog owners have also been warned to be wary of signs of dehydration and lethargy in their pets.

However, the symptoms are similar to parvovirus, a notorious and highly infectious disease that can be fatal.

Several other residents have shared their stories, including Sophie Roberts, from Witney, whose five-month-old puppy Max - pictured here -  died on Sunday just five days after appearing healthy and well.

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She said: "We were told to say our goodbyes and left completely and utterly heartbroken."

That day, Kelly Simpson's 10-month-old Labrador, Zeus, was put to sleep at Medivet Woodstock after contracting the virus, with tests for parvovirus returning negative.

She said: "We will most likely never know what happened to our beautiful boy."

All three vets in Witney were contacted for comment, with Cogges Veterinary Surgery posting on Facebook the cases could be linked to Canine Seasonal Illness.

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Kelly Simpson's labarador Zeus, who died from the mysterious condition.

CornYard has seen seven animals hospitalised with the virus and seven treated with less severe forms since October 8, from as far afield as Burford and Finstock, near Charlbury.

Three of those died after being hospitalised, while practice principle Sue Mulvey knows of another which died at home.

Mrs Mulvey said the virus was not infectious but has not pinned down the cause.

She said: "I can't find any pattern - the dogs all eat different food, some live in different environments.

"If your dog gets sick, get it to a vet as soon as possible. The sooner it gets treatment, the better chance it has of pulling through."

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