SCI: the mystery autumn illness

Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) can affect dogs of all shapes and sizes, and can be fatal. Affected dogs can become very ill, very quickly, often after being walked in woodland, and, as cases are generally reported between August and November, it's important dog owners are aware of the signs.

Two dogs are currently fighting for their life after contracting SCI following a walk in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, with other suspected cases reported in Coventry and Doncaster in the last few weeks. Sandringham estate also warned owners of SCI after 15 dogs were thought to have contracted the illness in one month last year.

The causes behind the disease are unknown but the Animal Health Trust says it can affect any dog that has been walked in woodland in autumn and signs of the illness become apparent between 24 and 72 hours.

Common reported symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (which can vary from watery to bloody)
  • Tummy (abdominal) pain
  • Lethargy (or reluctance to move)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shaking or trembling
  • High temperature (fever)

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms and you suspect they may have SCI, contact your vet immediately. For more information go to the Animal Health Trust's website.