The Animal Health Trust (AHT) is currently investigating the theory that seasonal canine illness (SCI) could be transmitted by external parasites such as harvest mites. It is possible that SCI is a novel disease that can infect dogs who are bitten by these mites while walking in woodland.
The AHT has had reports of suspected cases of SCI from all of the five study sites – Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire; Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Thetford Forest, Norfolk; and the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk – since the end of August 2012.
However, dogs could be at risk when walking in any woodland during autumn, so dog owners should remain vigilant and seek veterinary advice immediately if they suspect their dog has SCI.
SCI comes on very quickly, usually within 24-72 hours. The most common clinical signs reported are:
- Abdominal pain.
- Lethargy (or reluctance to move).
- Loss of appetite.
- Shaking or trembling.
- High temperature/fever.
If you notice these signs in your pet seek veterinary advice immediately.
If you have walked your dogs at any of the study sites – regardless of whether or not your dog was taken ill – you can help by completing the online questionnaire at www.aht.org.uk/sci