Henlow boss Kevin Boothby is keen to stress that despite taking the precautionary action of cancelling today’s meeting and deep cleaning the track’s racing kennels, there is no direct evidence of haemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), ‘Severe Kennel Sickness’ at his track.

The circumstances are: two Henlow greyhounds have died within the last week. Mark Wallis’ Muxton Snowy ran fifth in a graded race on Sunday and died on Tuesday. Jason Bloomfield’s Catch Kushino finished third in a race on Saturday and died midweek.

Mark Wallis said: “Snowy appeared a little bit subdued on Monday, but nothing too serious. She was a bit slow eating, but they sometimes don’t if they haven’t been fed until late the previous night after racing. But on Tuesday we came in the kennel to find very severe diarhhea in the kennel. We rushed her to the vet straight away but she deteriorated very quickly and died.

“Obviously we were concerned and contacted GBGB. Tests confirmed that she had a very bad case of ‘severe kennel sickness’. It was a couple of days before the result came through but in the meantime we had monitored all the other dogs in the kennel but nothing else had any kind of sickness problem.

“Even the slightest problem resembling Snowy and I would have instantly isolated the kennel. Like everyone, we know what basic kennel sickness was like, but this was something completely different. It was very sad and very distressing, her owners are distraught.”

Jason Bloomfield’s kennel had been more widely hit by general kennel sickness and he withdrew all his dogs from the racing strength, including open racers for Romford, as a precaution.

He said: “A lot of them were off colour, but you are never quite sure who might go down with it, so we didn’t take any chances and took them all off. But it was only normal kennel sickness, basically, runny poos. There was certainly nothing taken seriously ill.

“Kushino had been outside in the paddock earlier and appeared to be perfectly normal but then just collapsed.  Until the tests come back, we won’t know for sure, but it sounds like a case of heart failure. It certainly doesn’t sound anything like the severe sickness problem.”

As soon as he became aware of a potential issue, Kevin Boothby voluntarily canceled the Friday morning meeting and, overnight, had all the racing kennels treated with the GBGB supplied Anigene.

Boothby said: “Everything we did was a precaution. I have my pet dogs here, as well as my racing dogs. I would never take a risk on welfare. The only reason that we cancelled the Friday meeting was because the Anigene is apparently not good for the dogs’ pads, so we wanted to make sure it had all dried out.

“We have more Anigene here for any trainer that wants to take some home as a precaution. I feel very sorry for the owners of both greyhounds and understand if they are upset by what has happened. I am an animal lover myself.”