New drive to tackle mystery dog illness

NEW moves are being made to tackle a seasonal dog illness.

A multi-agency project is stepping up efforts to find out why some dogs have fallen ill while on countryside walks.

Cases of so called Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) occurred during the Autumn of 2009 and 2010 in Lincolnshire, as well as Nottinghamshire, East Anglia and Warwickshire, although there have been also been reports from further afield.

Back in October 2009, the Rasen Mail reported on four dogs who fell ill while walking with their owners in Forestry Commission owned woods near Market Rasen.

On that occasion, sadly one of the dogs died.

The cause of SCI remains unknown and as autumn approaches, dog owners are again being reminded to be vigilant.

Jo Atkinson, from the Forestry Commission, said: “Although no cases have yet been reported this year, we are working with our many partners to get a clearer picture of the distribution and reasons behind this upsetting sickness.

“Both dog owners and vets can play their part too in helping protect cherished pets.”

Symptoms of SCI include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking and trembling and high temperature, which have generally been displayed by animals within 24 hours of walking in the countryside, especially in woodlands.

A number of initiatives are now under way, such as better data collection, research projects into possible toxins, landowners and vets working together to learn more about sites and monitoring of cases.

Meanwhile, dog owners are being reminded to be vigilant for signs of illness and contact a vet immediately if concerned, to be aware of where the dog is walking and what it may be eating and drinking, as well as thinking about keeping dogs on a lead.