What is Seasonal Canine Illness?

Seasonal canine illness (SCI) is a potentially life threatening illness of which the exact cause is still unknown. It is most commonly observed in the autumn with the main symptoms being vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea. Symptoms are generally noticed within three days of having walked in a wooded area.

What could be the cause?

To this day there is no solid evidence of the exact cause of SCI.

Many suspect that harvest mites could be the cause as many of the affected dogs have been found with them. There is also a correlation between SCI and the time of year when the harvest mites larvae are at their highest numbers. However, these mites have never been known to carry or transmit diseases, so research is still ongoing.

Many experts suspected natural toxins released from the algae, fungi and other plant matter however these have since been ruled out.

Research of SCI is still ongoing with Nottingham University and the Animal Health Trust.

What should I do if my dog has symptoms?

If your dog begins showing symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting or fatigue you should call your vet as soon as possible.

There are many possible causes of these symptoms so the vet will need to see the dog before being able to decide whether your dog has SCI or not. However, there is no current medical test that can actually confirm the presence of SCI. As diagnosing SCI is very difficult, the vet will go through a process of elimination and exclude other conditions in order to narrow down the causes.

How can SCI be treated?

Many affected dogs receive treatment at the hospital via a drip to provide fluids and medications or are given oral medication, depending of the severity of the illness. If harvest mites are detected then a treatment will normally offered for them as well. The current recovery time is between 7-10 days.

As previously stated, SCI can be life threatening with 20% of affected dogs in 2010 dying as a result so make sure you do not hesitate to call the vets if you notice any symptoms!

More info can be found at the Animal Health Trust