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Helsinki Puppy Parade cancelled over fears of mysterious canine illness

Organisers of the annual event, which was due to be held on Sunday, said the risks outweighed the benefits.

File photo of a Border Collie puppy. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Organisers of Helsinki's annual Puppy Parade have cancelled the event due to concerns about the risk of a mysterious canine illness in Norway.

Symptoms of the disease include severe bloody diarrhoea and the serious malady has reportedly claimed the lives of at least 26 dogs in the Nordic country.

Last week in the western Finnish region of South Ostrobothnia, suspicions began to grow that the canine illness had spread to dogs in the area, after a pet reportedly died within a week of exhibiting similar symptoms.

The Finnish Food Authority suggested the cause could be any number of acute illnesses, and that the situation is being closely monitored.

Risk too big

The three-member Helsinki Puppy Parade association issued an announcement about the cancellation on social media.

"We are sad to announce that Sunday's parade is cancelled," the group wrote, noting that it had consulted veterinarians and that the risk of the disease spreading was not worth holding the event.

In previous years, Puppy Parade onlookers created a sort of gate through which dogs and their owners marched, so that audience members had a chance to see each hound up close.

Earlier this week, organisers of the canine FCI Agility World Championship - scheduled next week in Turku - announced that dogs from Norway were not allowed to participate.

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