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Canine seasonal illness

 

Hello

We have had a great response to our online SCI questionnaire from dog owners with more than 200 questionnaires completed for our study sites to date. Of these, there have been 14 suspected cases of SCI reported to us. We have had cases reported from each of our study sites.

These 14 cases are those which fit our case definition. There could, of course, be more cases that are occurring but have not been reported to us.

Please help us keep spreading the word so we can minimise the impact of SCI in 2012. From our knowledge of previous years we are now in peak SCI season so please remain vigilant for the clinical signs in your dog - diarrhoea, vomiting and lethargy.

If you see these signs in your dog shortly after walking in woodland, please access veterinary advice as soon as possible.

We're very grateful to everyone who is helping us spread the word. Please continue to do so - the more information we can gather through our questionnaires the better chance we have of identifying the cause of this mystery illness.


Keep up-to-date with the latest news on SCI

As soon as we have significant updates on SCI we will issue an e-alert informing you of the latest news

 

News

The AHT has just been made aware of a cluster of possible SCI cases near Thetford with dogs becoming ill with clinical signs matching those seen with SCI cases.

At the moment we are awaiting confirmation as to whether these dogs had recently been exposed to woodland shortly before becoming ill, consistent with out current definition of SCI.

We have also had a report of another possible case in Nottinghamshire from a veterinary practice that has previously treated cases in the past few years.

If you here of anymore cases please contact us by clicking this link 

 

Seasonal canine illness 

 

Monday 28 November 2011

UPDATE ON PROGRESS OF SEASONAL CANINE ILLNESS INVESTIGATION

AHT briefings bring vets and professionals up-to-speed with SCI investigation
A veterinary charity investigating Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) has held two briefing events for vets and stakeholders being affected by the condition.

Scientists and clinicians from the Suffolk-based Animal Health Trust (AHT) travelled
to Norfolk and Nottinghamshire to update professionals on the progress of its
investigation.

More than 50 veterinary professionals and stakeholders attended the briefings which were held on Monday 31 October and Wednesday 2 November.

Dr Richard Newton, of the AHT, who is leading the SCI investigation, said: “We are
hopefully 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. We
have managed to collect a lot of information from vets and also from dog owners
since we became aware of the recurrence of SCI at the beginning of September 2011.”

“These briefings were designed to let those professionals closest to the investigation know what progress we’ve made and in what areas we still need their help.”


In September scientists from the AHT visited specific, SCI-affected areas on the
Sandringham Estate, one of its SCI investigation sites, with British field botanist, Dr
Mark Spencer, from the Natural History Museum.

Dr Spencer stated that there was no obvious evidence of any plants, fungi, blue-green algae or bracken spore toxins, which have been proposed as causes, which would cause the clinical signs of SCI in dogs through direct contact.

Dr. Newton added: “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 that would
explain the recent autumnal re-emergence of SCI at the Sandringham Estate”.

“Because of this we have been looking at other possible causes. Information made
available to us in 2011 suggests there may be links between SCI and harvest mites, and to a lesser extent links between SCI and wood pigeons, and perhaps other bird species. We have been working with experts in the necessary fields, in the UK and internationally, to follow up these lines of enquiry.”

The AHT is continuing its investigation based at five sites – Sandringham Estate and Thetford Forest in Norfolk, Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

It is still requesting that owners who have walked their dogs at any of the five study
sites since the beginning of August 2011 complete the relevant questionnaire on the AHT website, regardless of whether dogs became ill. Getting information from non-affected animals is just as important to the investigation as that provided for sick dogs.

The charity expects that the number of cases will start to rapidly decline in the next
few weeks, as they did at this time in 2010.


Dr. Newton, said: “We expect to see fewer cases from now until next autumn but dog owners should still stay vigilant. We did have several cases reported to us in December 2010 so we may not have seen the end of SCI in 2011 just yet.”  

Additional notes:


In September 2010, the AHT was asked by the Sandringham Estate to
investigate the illness on its site. Since the investigation began, more cases
have been identified across Norfolk and Nottinghamshire and the AHT has
been working with the National Trust and the Forestry Commission on this
investigation. The Camping and Caravanning Club and the Environment
Agency have also assisted the investigation.

The AHT advises any dog owner who is concerned about their dog’s health,
or if their dog is experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy to contact
their vet immediately 
 
 Seasonal Canine Illness is the name given to a mysterious illness which has been affecting dogs during the autumn of 2009, 2010 and again in 2011 mainly occurring in East Anglia, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Warwickshire, although there have some reports from further afield. Symptoms include sever vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking, trembling and high temperature leading to severe dehydration and have generally been displayed by dogs within 24 hours of walking in the countryside especially in woodlands, although other areas have come under suspicion. Particular areas affected include Thetford Forest and Sandringham in Norfolk, Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, and Market Rasen and Laughton Forest areas in Lincolnshire. 

To date there have been over 60 cases reported, a number of dogs have died and so far the cause remains unknown. Various theories have been put forward ranging from algal bloom to fungal spores and plant seeds, the only thing we can be certain of is that this illness seems to occur mainly in the months of August, September and October. So far since the beginning of August of this year there have already been over twelve cases in Norfolk alone.

Nottingham University in conjunction with the Forestry Commission and The Animal Health Trust are researching the illness and hope to have some clues as to the cause by Christmas. 

For further information go to the Animal Health Trust web site where they have a questionnaire to fill in by anyone who has walked their dogs in the areas thought to be most at risk, whether or not the dogs have become sick.

What can you do to help your dogs:-

Avoid, if at all possible walking your dogs in any of the known areas at risk, and keep your dog on the lead in any area which could possibly be affected.

Seek veterinary help urgently if your dog becomes ill and displays any of the symptoms of SCI.

Be aware of where your dog is walking and what it may be eating or drinking.

Spread the word to other dog owners.

Collect and store samples of vomit, diarrhoea and anything your dog might have eaten or had contact with if your dog does become sick.

Inform PACT of any known cases and we will pass on your information to the relevant organisations. Tel 01362 820775 or email us