Leeds vet issues advice on mystery killer dog disease

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A Leeds vet is reminding pet owners that a so-called mystery killer dog disease prevalent during the autumn could be prevented with a flea and tick treatment.

White Cross Vets, which has practices in Guiseley and Roundhay, said Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) could also be reduced by checking dogs’ paws for harvest mites after walks.

The firm is regularly inundated with enquiries from dog owners at this time of year who are worried about the disease, which generally strikes between September and November.

The first cases of SCI were reported in 2010 and symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy that will appear within 72 hours of dogs walking through woodland.

Tom Ward, from the Guiseley surgery, said: “Although SCI is often making the headlines at this time of year, the reality is that it’s only a tiny percentage of dogs that become ill from it. Most medical evidence suggests that it may be caused by harvest mites that are particularly active at this time of year and latch on to a dog’s paws, legs, chest and tummy, often resembling red dust that becomes stuck in the fur.

“However, it’s useful to know that harvest mites are only active during the day, so walking dogs early in the morning or after dusk is a way of evading them.

“It’s worth discussing with your vet whether the products you’re currently using provide appropriate protection for your pet’s needs.”

Visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk for more information.