December 9 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 12, 2013
A mysterious and deadly disease affecting dogs has returned to Suffolk – but this time experts believe they may know its cause.
The Animal Health Trust has begun a pilot study to investigate a possible link between seasonal canine illness – a recurring disease that tends to affect dogs after visiting woodland – and harvest mites.
Many of the 49 official cases reported to the veterinary charity this season, have also shown evidence of mite infestation.
“To enable us to eliminate harvest mites as a potential cause of SCI, we are advising dog owners to treat their dogs with fipronil spray directly before walking in woodlands,” said SCI research coordinator Charlotte Robin.
The trust is keen to point out that the prescription-only spray may not protect dogs from the disease, but hopes it may help their investigation.
The news has come too late for several dog owners in the Framlingham area who have reported cases of the illness – some fatal – after taking their dogs to Rendlesham Forest.
Framlingham pensioner Wendy Skeggs says her daughter’s dogs suffered a nasty bout of illness and was eager to warn of the danger.
“It seems to come back every October but there’s been no real information about it and I’m worried that people will have forgotten about it,” she said.
“It happened to my daughter and she nearly lost her two little dogs. It was really dreadful, they were being sick everywhere and I thought they were going to die but she got them to the vets really quickly and they put them on a drip.”
Wendy’s husband Bruce said he had heard of two less fortunate dogs that had died after suffering similar symptoms.
“A lot of the little ones don’t make it,” he said.
For formation on the pilot study visit www.aht.org.uk/scipilotstudy