A HUCKNALL vet is warning pet owners to be extra vigilant after treating three local dogs for suspected poisoning.
The cases were all discovered at the Orchard House Veterinary Centre on Vine Terrace inside one week.
It is feared the animals had been affected by the mysterious seasonal canine illness (SCI).
It is suspected that the complaint develops after the dogs have been walked in areas of woodland and is caused by a natural substance that occurs in the autumn.
In the last two years, 11 dogs have died in Nottinghamshire as a result of SCI.
Of the local cases treated at Orchard House, one of the pets had been walked in woodland around Papplewick. Another had been taken to Blidworth.
Daniella McCready, clinical director of Orchard House, said: “We have seen a similar problem during the last few years when dogs have been walked in certain local woods during September, resulting in vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and kidney failure. Unfortunately, some dogs have died in previous years.”
Previous investigations have failed to identify the exact cause, but blue-green algae, which grows in ponds and lakes, has been suggested as a possible trigger.
Dogs do not need to drink infected water to be affected, but merely have to walk in the infected areas and then lick their paws.
Other areas of particular concern that are popular with dog-walkers from the Dispatch district include Sherwood Forest, Blidworth Woods, Sherwood Pines and Thieves Wood in Ravenshead.
Miss McCready added that dogs that contract SCI “often deteriorate despite intensive treatment”.
She advised that if owners suspect their dog might have been affected, they should seek veterinary attention immediately. Other owners should also take extra caution when walking their pets.
The Forestry Commission is working with the Animal Health Trust to identify the cause of the illness.
Anyone whose dog displays similar symptoms has been asked to fill in a questionnaire on the Animal Health Trust’s website.
Nottingham University’s veterinary school is also carrying out research.