Seasonal Canine Illness


The Animal Health Trust is warning dog owners to remain alert this autumn, as a mystery dog illness is expected to reoccur in the upcoming months.

Whilst we at Castle Vets in Reading have not seen any cases of this illness in the Reading area, we would like to warn dog owners of the potential risk and symptoms to look out for.

Seasonal Canine Illness  has been seen in recent years in the late Summer and Autumn months from August to November and dogs that have been walked in woodland areas suddenly fall ill. The illness seems to effect all dogs regardless of breed, age and sex and unfortunately we still do not know what causes the disease.

Symptoms of Seasonal Canine Illness

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack Of Appetite
  • Shaking/Trembling
  • High Temperature

The three most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea and/or lethargy and the symptoms generally appear within 24-72 hours of walking in woodland areas.  Research has shown that if dogs showing signs of Seasonal Canine Illness receive prompt veterinary treatment they tend to recover within 7-10 days. The Animal Health Trust have asked that dog owners be vigilant for the signs and seek immediate veterinary advice should their dog fall ill following a woodland walk.

Because the cause of Seasonal Canine Illness is still unknown, the trust also recommends that dog owners ensure their pets are up to date with preventative treatments for external parasites, and always keep a supply of fresh water available to them.

Research into the illness

Research is being carried out at the University of Nottingham into the cause of the illness. It is believed that a naturally occurring toxin, released from a plant, fungi or algal bloom is a likely candidate for causing the disease. Since the Animal Health Trust has been investigating the illness, fewer dogs have been dying from Seasonal Canine Illness. In 2010, one in five cases reported to the trust resulted in death, compared with less than two per cent in 2012.

Any owners of dogs that have suffered with Seasonal Canine Illness or have walked their dog in any of the following Animal Health Trust study sites (with or without any subsequent symptoms) are encouraged to complete an online questionnaire.

  • Sandringham Estate or Thetford Forest in Norfolk
  • Clumber Park or Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire
  • Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk

How you can help

  • Tell your friends and family about Seasonal Canine Illness and what to look out for so that prompt treatment can be given if their dog should fall ill.
  • Complete the  online questionnaire if you have walked your dog in one of the five study sites or if your dog is thought to have had Seasonal Canine Illness
  • Register for email updates on the Animal Health Trust website so that you can keep up to date with any information they have.
  • If you can spare it, make a donation on the Animal Health Trust website to help them continue with their valuable research.

If you think your dog is showing signs of Seasonal Canine Illness please contact your veterinary surgery as soon as possible.

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4 thoughts on “Seasonal Canine Illness

  1. Our vets in Leigh on sea, Essex have informed us that several dogs have died of seasonal canine disease, following a walk in our local woods in the last week. What is or can be done to inform dog owners ?

    Very anxious owner to Hollie


    • The Animal Health Trust is working hard to keep owners informed and your vet will hopefully have reported these cases to them. Research is being done into this illness, but for now the best thing dog owners can do is share the information with their friends.


  2. Why is no one mentioning Wales? A friend has lost 2 dogs in the last month. She walks her dogs in the forestry in the Ceredigion area. Apparently others in the area have had dogs get this “blight”. My local vets know nothing about it. The symptoms are apparently pretty much the same as parvo. Isn’t it time the press was informed?


    • Hi Lowri.
      Please ask your friend to have her vet contact the Animal Health Trust about her dogs because sadly, unless the vet reports suspected or confirmed cases no one will know they have happened. We think the reason there hasn’t been a nationwide press release is because the scientist still don’t know what the cause is, but if pet owners can spread the word then hopefully people will avoid walking their family pets in affected areas.


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