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11/11/2011 Illness can cause death in some dogs

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The illness Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI), which causes death in some dogs, is being further investigated by scientists and clinicians from the Animal Health Trust. The health experts have already briefed numerous professionals about their findings after some dogs were affected by the malaise which they now believe could be attributed to harvest mites and birds such as pigeons.

The leader of the investigation at The Animal Health Trust, Dr Richard Newton, wanted to advise veterinarians how their help would be needed. He said

“We are coming towards the end of the second autumn in which we have been investigating SCI, with fewer cases being reported to us in the past few weeks”. He went on to say “We have managed to collect a lot of information from vets and also from dog owners since we became aware of the recurrence of the illness at the beginning of September.”

The Sandringham Estate has seen dogs affected by the illness and the botanist Dr Mark Spencer set about investigating the local area for toxins, algae, plants and fungi. So far there have been no obvious evidence of specific plants or fungi that have been identified that could have caused the symptoms in the dogs affected by SCI. Dr Newton said “Mark was confident that there was nothing obviously unusual in the woodlands, and that the plants and habitats he observed did not provide evidence of abundant and recently-emerged botanical or fungal species which would explain the recent autumnal re-emergence of SCI at the Sandringham Estate,” The Animal Health Trust will continue to monitor four other sites at the same time – Thetford Forest in Norfolk, Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

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