Suffolk: Cases of mystery dog illness decline
SUFFOLK: Scientists believe a mystery illness affecting dogs in East Anglia could be on the wane.
Animal Health Trust (AHT) experts suspect cases of the seasonal affliction will not return until next year, but have advised dog owners to keep a vigilant eye out for symptoms.
People walking their dogs in the region over the Christmas break can be reassured that the unknown illness seems to have dissipated for the time being.
Dr Richard Newton, leading the investigation into Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI), said: “We haven’t had any new cases of this mystery illness reported to us since mid-November so we’re reasonably confident that, as we suspected, this is a seasonal problem.
“We would always advise owners to stay vigilant and contact their vet should they be concerned about their pets but we’d like to reassure owners that we think the worst of this illness has passed for this year.”
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An appeal from the charity for help in gathering information on the mystery illness had a positive response from dog owners, with more than 370 questionnaires completed and returned to the team carrying out the investigation. Almost 20% of returned questionnaires were from owners of dogs showing symptoms of CSI, and showed cases peaked in September.
Theories as to what could be causing the illness include blue-green algae fungal, bacterial or other toxins, and man-made poisons.
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The AHT has advised any concerned owners to contact their vet if their dog is experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy.
Dr Newton added: “We now face the task of analysing the data we’ve received to try to find a cause for this illness.
“Next autumn we’re likely to see a recurrence of cases so our aim is to arm owners with as much information as we can ahead of that.”
The AHT - an independent charity, employing over 200 scientists, vets and support workers - has established a SCI fund and is asking for donations towards the cost of its investigation. To make a donation or find out more about the investigation, visit www.aht.org.uk.