Mites that look like red dust can cause severe harm to your pet dog, a Northampton vet has warned.
White Cross Vets in Weston Favell says it has been inundated with calls about the disease, which goes by the name of Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI).
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 between September and November.
Nishi Jani, from White Cross Vets in Northampton, said: "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."
Although SCI often makes the headlines at this time of year, only a small percentage of dogs become ill from it.
It can be prevented with a flea and tick treatment, as well as checking dogs’ paws for dust mites after walks.
Mrs Jani said: “Whilst we always advise dog owners to be vigilant, most don’t necessarily need to change their habits in order to try to specifically avoid SCI.
"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.
"They also often lurk in long grass and vegetation, with the worst infestations happening when the dog sits still.
"It’s worth discussing with your vet whether the products you’re currently using provide appropriate protection for your pet’s needs.”
Anyone wanting further information about SCI can call White Cross Vets or visit: www.whitecrossvets.co.uk