A mystery dog illness that took the lives of dogs in 2009 and 2010 is claiming more lives this year. The strange illness seems to be affecting dogs in Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk walking in wooded areas.
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The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has launched an investigation into the illness and are asking for dog owners in those regions (and beyond) to take their dogs to a vet if they seem unwell and to provide the AHT with as much information as possible to help narrow down the source of the illness.
Edit (18 Sept 2011): Another 11 cases have just been reported in the Sandringham Estate. Keep a keen eye out for what is believed to be at the root of the problem which are bacteria, blue-green algae or fungal spores.
The reports of Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) have increased since September so signs are showing it to be an Autumnal occurance.
The main areas indicated so far include Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and Sandringham Estate and Thetford Forest in Norfolk. If you have walked your dogs in any of the affected areas the AHT are asking you to complete a questionnaire if your dog became ill or not to try to narrow down specific areas causing the illness. The questionnaire is available at www.aht.org.uk.
Although these areas have been specifically identified, all wooded areas are of concern, Richard Newton of the AHT said “We do not believe that dogs are at any more risk walking at the four sites we’re investigating than at any other woodland site. We simply need to limit our investigation area in order to get the most useful data.
“Nearly 400 people completed questionnaires last autumn after walking dogs in these areas but we were also alerted to other areas, across the whole of the UK, where dog owners believe cases had occurred.”
If after walking in a woodland area your dog shows any of these signs take them to a vet immediately as if left untreated the dog can become fatally ill.
I know I will keep a closer eye on my dogs as we often walk in the woods, especially this time of year when there is so much change all around us.