Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI)

The Animal Health Trust is warning dog owners to remain alert this autumn, as a mystery dog illness is expected to recur in the upcoming months.

Seasonal Canine Illness  has been seen in recent years in the late Summer and Autumn months from August to November and dogs that have been walked in woodland areas suddenly fall ill. The illness seems to affect all dogs regardless of breed, age and sex and unfortunately we still do not know what causes the disease.

Symptoms of Seasonal Canine Illness

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • High Temperature

The three most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea and/or lethargy and the symptoms generally appear within 24-72 hours of walking in woodland areas.  Research has shown that if dogs showing signs of Seasonal Canine Illness receive prompt veterinary treatment they tend to recover within 7-10 days. Unfortunately, in some cases, SCI becomes severe very quickly and, sadly, some dogs do not survive. Cases have been reported all over the UK, are generally seen from August onwards, peak in September and may be seen in to November.

Because the cause of Seasonal Canine Illness is still unknown, we recommend that dog owners ensure their pets are up to date with preventative treatments for parasites (especially against harvest mites) and that you wash off any mud and muck from your dog’s paws and coat after walks.

Research into the illness

It is believed that a naturally occurring toxin, released from a plant, fungi or algal bloom is a likely candidate for causing the disease. Harvest mites (which are orange in colour) have also been present on a few of the affected dogs, but it is currently unknown whether these mites are involved in transmitting of the disease or not.

Unfortunately, the investigation and research into SCI has now been stopped due to a shortage of funds.

How you can help

  • Tell your friends and family about Seasonal Canine Illness and what to look out for so that prompt treatment can be given if their dog should fall ill.
  • Register for email updates on the Animal Health Trust website so that you can keep up to date with any information they have.
  • If you can spare it, make a donation on the Animal Health Trust website to help them continue with their valuable research.

If you think your dog is showing signs of Seasonal Canine Illness please contact your veterinary surgery as soon as possible.

Animal Health Trust Link