Seasonal Canine Illness

autumnWe have seen rising cases over the last few years of what appears to be ‘Seasonal Canine Illness’ in dogs during the months of August through to November. Although the cause is not yet known we do know that these dogs have been walked in woodland. Most of the cases are seen in our Bourne practice and a few these dogs had been walked in Bourne woods and Sandringham a few days before clinical signs were present – usually 24-72 hours.

Dogs of all breeds, ages and sizes can be affected by this mystery illness and sadly this can prove fatal in some dogs, especially those with compromised immune systems and the older or very young dog.

Clinical signs mainly include vomiting, diarrhoea, trembling, loss of appetite and lethargy; if you notice this in any dog especially one that has been walked in woodland then please do contact your veterinary practice immediately. There have been far less fatal cases of this in the last couple of years as people are hearing more about it and becoming more aware of the urgency to seek medical advice.

With the correct treatment which can sometimes involve a hospital stay; most dogs will recover well within a few days with intravenous fluid therapy and drugs to control the vomiting and diarrhoea, this sometimes takes about a week but sometimes a bit longer depending on the individual dog.

The Animal Health Trust in Newmarket has been conducting research into this illness for the last few years and we hope that soon they may be a step closer to finding out how we can prevent this. Until then if you are walking your dogs in woodland please keep a close eye on them and watch that they don’t pick anything up to consume. As we don’t know if this could be from a mite picked up in these areas it is a good idea to use a preventative topical preparation against mites, fleas and ticks; please contact your vet to be prescribed the best product for this.

For any further information please contact your veterinary practice to have a chat with a vet or a veterinary nurse.