Sheffield vet reveals how to tackle mystery deadly dog disease – these are the symptoms to look out for

A so-called mystery killer dog disease that is prevalent during the autumn, could be prevented with a flea and tick treatment, as well as checking dogs’ paws for dust mites after walks, according to a Sheffield veterinary practice.

White Cross Vets in Handsworth is regularly inundated with enquiries from dog owners at this time of year who are worried about Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI), which generally strikes between September and November. The first cases of SCI were reported in 2010 and symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy that will appear within 72 hours of dogs walking through woodland in autumn.

Dave Hough

Dave Hough

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Dave Hough, from White Cross Vets, said: “Although SCI is often making the headlines at this time of year, the reality is that it’s only a tiny percentage of dogs that become ill from it. Most medical evidence suggests that it may be caused by harvest mites that are particularly active at this time of year and latch on to a dog’s paws, legs, chest and tummy, often resembling red dust that becomes stuck in the fur.

“Whilst we always advise dog owners to be vigilant, most don’t necessarily need to change their habits in order to try to specifically avoid SCI. However, it’s useful to know that harvest mites are only active during the day, so walking dogs early in the morning or after dusk is a way of evading them. They also often lurk in long grass and vegetation, with the worst infestations happening when the dog sits still.

“It’s worth discussing with your vet whether the products you’re currently using provide appropriate protection for your pet’s needs.”

Anyone wanting further information about SCI should call White Cross Vets or visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk

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