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Owners warned after dogs fall ill with mystery bug at Sandringham campsite

Three dogs that stayed with their owner at a campsite on the Royal Sandringham estate have fallen ill. All appeared to have succumbed to the rare 'Seasonal Canine Illness'.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 18/09/2020, 18:00

SCI is an unusual disease that is, thankfully, rarer than it was 10 years ago. The cause of SCI is unknown but ongoing research appears to have ruled out almost everything outdoorsy, including poisons found in water, flora and manmade substances.

Earlier this month Maggie Hands returned from a short break at the Camping and Caravanning Club Site at Sandringham, Norfolk, and soon noticed her three dogs become very poorly.

Critically ill

The dogs - Minnie a Bichon Frise, Jessie a Yorkshire Terrier, and Kiki a Shih Tzu - all fell ill shortly after Ms. Hands returned to her home in Bedford. They showed classic symptoms of SCI including lethargy, sickness and diarrhoea.

Hands told the Mail Online that she believes one of the dogs – 10-year-old Kiki – may even succumb to the disease.

What is SCI?

Most dog owners who frequent woodland will be aware of the mystery illness. Although its cause is unknown it is commonly seen to affect dogs more often in the autumn than at any other time of the year, September being the month during which the majority of dogs fall foul of the disease.

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Research into the bug is still ongoing but to date no common cause has been identified. Some experts consider canine allergic reactions to mushrooms or various algae to be a possible catalyst.

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan told the Mail Online, “It’s more common in certain areas of England, including East Anglia, the Midlands and Nottinghamshire.”

Dog owners are advised to be vigilant of the risk.