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Seasonal Canine Illness – What Signs To Look Out For.

Dog owners warned to stay alert as cases of mystery dog illness reoccur, as the Animal Health Trust continues its investigation into Seasonal Canine Illness

A leading veterinary charity is issuing an alert to dog owners across the country, asking them to stay vigilant for signs of a mystery illness which can kill dogs.

In the last week, the AHT has been made aware of new cases of Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) across Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Suffolk.

During autumn 2009 and 2010, several dogs which had been walked in woodlands suddenly became ill. In some cases, dogs didn’t recover. Responding to this, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) launched an investigation into SCI.

Richard Newton of the AHT, said, “We want to arm dog owners with as much information as we can. Unfortunately we are looking for a small needle in a very large haystack so this could take some time.

“We weren’t aware of any cases in 2011, then suddenly at the start of September we had a flurry of reports. Vets and dog owners seem to be more aware of this illness this year and this has helped enormously with our investigation.

“Because dog owners, or vets treating the animals, have contacted us as soon as the dogs have been taken ill, we’ve been able to identify specific areas where these dogs have been walked. This is helping to focus our investigation on smaller geographical areas, hopefully, meaning that we’re getting closer to the culprit.”

Although clinical signs of SCI, which include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy are fairly common and non-specific, it is their onset within only a few hours of dogs walking in woodlands that is distinctive. The AHT is advising any dog owners who see these signs in their pet to access veterinary treatment immediately.

For the purpose of its investigation the AHT is focussing its data collection on four previously affected sites: Sandringham Estate and Thetford Forest in Norfolk and Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

Richard Newton, added, “We do not believe that dogs are at any more risk walking at the four sites we’re investigating than at any other woodland site. We simply need to limit our investigation area in order to get the most useful data.

“Nearly 400 people completed questionnaires last autumn after walking dogs in these areas but we were also alerted to other areas, across the whole of the UK, where dog owners believe cases had occurred.”

The AHT is asking dog owners who have walked their dogs at any of the four study sites since 1st August 2011 to complete and return the relevant questionnaire. Even if your dog has not been taken ill your information will be invaluable to the investigation. Questionnaires, and further information, are available from the website:

Richard Newton, said, “So far in 2011 we haven’t had any reports of dogs dying from SCI. We believe people are being vigilant and are seeking veterinary help at the first sign of illness – by doing this dog owners really are giving their pet the best chance of fighting SCI. ”

The majority of cases have been reported in Sandringham Estate, Clumber Park, Thetford Forest and Sherwood Forest. However cases were also reported in:

2011 Additional Reported Areas

Lawn Park, Sutton Ashfield

Golitha Falls, Bodmin Moor

Shouldham Warren, Norfolk

Ickworth Park, Horringer, Suffolk

Sunninghill, Ascot

Packington Estate, Warwickshire

Pakefield Park, Suffolk

Dunwich Woods, Suffolk

Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich

Wayland Wood

Gravelly Hollow, Calverton, Nottingham

Elmswell, Suffolk

Westelton Walks, Suffolk

Dunwich Forest, Suffolk

Ferring, Guildford

Griffon Forest, Yorkshire

Frame, South Hants

Wirral Country Park

Ryton Pools Country Park, Warwickshire

2010 Reported Areas

Blidworth Woods/Sansom Woods south of Blidworth, Notts (SK590525)

Laughton Wood near Gainsborough, Lincs  (SK8400)

Sherwood Heath near Ollerton, Notts (SK645675)

Spalford Warren north of Newark, close to river Trent

Ashdown Forest (East Sussex)

Pott Row woods (King’s Lynn)

Dalby Forest , North Yorkshire

Gayton Hall
Rufford Park

Holt (Norfolk)
West Oxfordshire

Kings Wood in Bawtry
Llanwonno (Wales)

Ballsy Pit, Kings Lynn

New National Forest

Horsted Woods, Norfolk

Abbeystead Estate, Lancashire

Swardeston Common

Shouldham, Downham Market

New Forest

Bramcote Woods, Bramcote

Colwick Wood, Nottingham

Thieves Woods, Nottingham

Nettleshall Heath, Diss

Winterton Beach, Norfolk

Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Alexandra Palace Park

West Stow

Fritton Woods, Lowestoft

Pott Row Woods

Rendlesham Forest

Clowes Wood, Worcestershire

Morton-in –Marsh, Cotswolds

Holkham Beach

Burnham Market

Potters Heigham, Norfolk



Wokingham, Berkshire

Market Rasen, Lincolnshire

Browns Bay, Islandmagee, Northern Ireland

The Devisdale, Altringham

Tongham, Guildford

Eccup Reservoir, Leeds

Gorleston, Norfolk

Epping Forest

Littlehampton, West Sussex

Charmouth, Dorset

Hunstanton, Norfolk

West Bilney Woods, Pentney

Foxley Woods, Bawdeswell, Norfolk

Somercotes, Alfreton, Derbyshire


Boston, Lincolnshire

Market Bosworth, Leicestershire
Kingsteignton, Devon

Pembrey, llanelli

Eccleshall Woods, Sheffield

Blackwall Plantation, Carsington Water, Derbyshire




5 Comments for “Seasonal Canine Illness – What Signs To Look Out For.”

  • jennifer raison says:

    is there a possibility that deer are carriers as all wooded areas in suffolk are densely populated with deer.

  • Chris Bucksey says:


    I live in The New Forest. My German Shepherd who was fit and healthy died suddenly at seven years old after walking out in the Forest. The illness set on very quickly. The syptoms; dehydration, drinking copious amounts of water. She died in my arms panting. Her stomach was distended and hard. Could this be SCI?

    • admin says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. Only animal owners can really understand the loss of a dog. When you feel able to, please contact the Animal Health Trust, they are investigating the possible causes of SCI and they will be able to answer your questions. They also want to hear about any possible cases of SCI.
      Please see following link

      Best Wishes

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