Dog nearly dies after catching SCI in Rendlesham Forest
- Credit: Archant
Owner calls for more warnings against the rare illness in an attempt to highlight the dangers
A dog owner has told of his horror after his labradoodle almost died upon contracting seasonal canine illness (SCI) after going out walking in Suffolk.
Andrew Clipstone regularly takes his dog Denver around the countryside and last Wednesday took his pet for a stroll through Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge, having not walked there for over a year.
Within 24 hours, Mr Clipstone noticed a sudden decline in Denver, who turns eight years old next month, as he deteriorated rapidly the following day showing signs of severe lethargy.
By Friday, Denver was vomiting, suffering stomach cramps and unable to walk. Mr Clipstone is worried the illness could have come from the forest walk.
Ryder-Davies + Partners veterinary practice in Woodbridge took care of Denver and diagnosed SCI through a process of elimination.
The veterinarian informed Mr Clipstone that they had already treated two other cases of SCI in recent weeks, though it has not been confirmed if these dogs had also visited Rendlesham Forest.
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Costing £820 for various blood tests, swabs, scans, X-rays and medication, Denver was released from the vet's the following Monday with a full recovery period of between seven and 10 days.
SCI is a recently discovered and rare condition with no confirmed cause but it is known that effects occur shortly after walking through woods and forests leading to theories that a certain type of woodland tick may be responsible.
The autumnal months are when the illness is at its peak with most cases occurring between August and November and the majority of incidents being reported in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle tremors arising within 24 to 72 hours of contact.
Mr Clipstone is planning to create his own signs to hang up around Rendlesham Forest in an attempt to warn other dog owners of the risk and said: "If I had seen a sign warning of this, as much as I love Rendlesham, I wouldn't have taken him there. We won't be going again.
"I want to save somebody else from going through this.
"For some people their dogs are like their children. It was scary."
Forestry England, which manages Rendlesham Forest, was unavailable for comment.