Anything that threatens our pets is cause for concern. While this story is breaking news in Norway, it is a cause for concern here in the states. As of this past Tuesday, hundreds of dogs have come down with a mysterious illness. And in some cases, this illness has turned deadly.

In Norway, dog owners are being advised to keep their pets home– and to especially keep their dogs from interacting with other dogs as this disease continues to spread. They do not know for sure whether it is contagious but because of the severity of the ‘bowel disease’, they want to err on the side of caution.

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The total number of deaths has risen to 26. Necropsy results have been vague and have not given authorities definitive answers on why the dogs are getting so sick. The symptoms, however, are clear. The dogs are suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Roughly 200 dogs have reportedly become sick, according to Norway’s Veterinary Institute.

Vets began informing the Norwegian Food Safety Authority about the sick dogs only this month. Since initial reports, more and more dogs have been reported and the disease seems to be spreading. Fast.

In a statement, the food safety authority reports that “a mixed culture” of two types of bacteria, Providencia alcalifaciens and Clostridium perfringens, was found in some dogs. The bacteria can also be associated with diarrhea in humans.

“But we can’t conclude that these are the cause of the symptoms we see,” the statement said.

Investigators thought that the disease might be connected to a large number of wild mushrooms growing this year. This theory is still a possibility, along with bacteria, viruses, and parasites, according to the food safety agency.

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While no one is certain how the disease is spreading, or if it’s contagious, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority is urging dog owners to avoid “dressage courses, exhibitions, hunting trials and the like” until they have more answers.

One dog owner, Torstein Holten, told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK that her dog, Lexi, was a picture of health when she took her for a run just last week. Only a day later, she found Lexi incredibly sick. She was vomiting and had ongoing diarrhea.

Holten took Lexi to the vet who said she would likely be fine but to bring her back if she got worse. The next morning, the family found Lexi dead in the hallway.

While it is still unclear what is going on, Norway officials insist that this disease is not affecting humans.

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Please be diligent– if you sense something is not right with your pet, never hesitate to call your vet for advice. If symptoms worsen, bring your dog in for a checkup. We will keep you all posted on the breakout in Norway.