Seasonal canine illness is uncommon but it can have a rapid onset and become serious very quickly. Being aware of the signs of this condition is important.
Seasonal canine illness (canine seasonal disease) is most common in autumn and there is often a history of affected dogs having been recently walked in woodland.
The signs are not specific for this condition but include vomiting and lethargy. Signs can progress very rapidly often within hours.
The cause is currently unknown but there are concerns that tiny orange harvest mites may play a part in the development of this condition.
Depending on the severity of the signs, your dog may need to be hospitalised for fluid therapy and anti-sickness medication.
What causes Seasonal Canine Illness?
The first case of seasonal canine illness was reported in 2010 and at the moment it is not known what causes this condition. It is most commonly seen between August and November and affected dogs usually have a history of walking in woodland.
It is thought that tiny orange harvest mites may play a role. These mites are found in long grasses in late summer and autumn and can attach to our dogs, most commonly on the skin around the ears or between the toes. If you examine carefully they can often be seen with the naked eye as tiny orange dots. Their bites can cause a lot of irritation and itchiness.
What are the signs?
There is currently no specific test for canine seasonal illness and the symptoms are similar to many other conditions:
If your dog is vomiting or lethargic within 24-72 hours of walking in woodland then contact your vet as soon as possible. Your vet may want to run tests such as blood test and examining a urine sample to check for more common diseases. Imaging such as X-rays and ultrasound scans may also need to be done.
Can it be treated?
If left untreated canine seasonal illness can progress rapidly leading to dehydration and it can even be fatal. With treatment the majority of dogs recover within 10 days.
Your dog may need a hospital stay for close monitoring, fluid therapy (to correct the dehydration) and other medications such as anti-sickness treatments. If harvest mites are found on your dog then a treatment may be prescribed to eliminate them.
Seasonal Canine Illness is an uncommon condition and there are many other causes of vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy. Watch out for the signs especially after taking your dog on a woodland walk and contact your vet if you have any concerns.