Third dog almost dies after Sandringham woodland walk

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Another family was left devastated this week when their five-month-old puppy was left fighting for his life from Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI).

Joanne and Daniel Raby’s labrador puppy Chester is lucky to be alive after being struck down with the killer disease following a walk in Sandringham woods last week.

Mrs Raby’s Facebook post warning other dog owners not to go to Sandringham has since gone viral – with more than 1,400 shares.

And the Snettisham mum has now pledged to write directly to the Queen to demand action after an “irresponsible” response from Her Majesty’s Estate yesterday.

Chester’s case comes just days after two other dogs nearly died when they too contracted the mystery disease at Sandringham.

As reported in the Lynn News on Friday, Terry and Linda Wenn’s dogs Scruffy, a five-year-old cross border terrier, and Charlie, an 11-year-old dachshund, were left in intensive care for four days.

All the dogs have suffered severe sickness, diarrhoea and weakness within 24 to 48 hours of catching SCI, which usually occurs between August and November.

Despite investigations by the Animal Health Trust, a cause of SCI is not yet known – although the presence of harvest mites is thought to have some connection.

Mrs Raby and her 11-year-old son Jack took Chester to Sandringham Woods for the first time on Thursday evening. Chester was fine until he suddenly started being sick at 11pm the following night.

He was rushed for emergency treatment at Snettisham’s Coastal Vets early on Saturday and placed on antibiotics and an intravenous drip, before being allowed home to recover on Sunday afternoon.

“He became critically ill. I’ve never seen a dog so ill in all my life,” said Mrs Raby.

She has now called for Sandringham Estate to put up more signs warning dog owners about SCI, after being informed that there is currently just one in the Visitor Centre.

She rang the Estate office yesterday morning and was told more signs would not be feasible, due to the size of the Estate and number of areas where people walk their dogs.

But she also phoned Thetford Forest, where other cases of SCI have been reported in the past, and discovered the Forestry Commission has put up a number of warning signs, including the public toilets.

Mrs Raby asked: “If the Forestry Commission can do it at Thetford, why can’t Sandringham do it as well?

“The response I had from Sandringham was completely irresponsible, and I will be taking it further by writing to the Queen. Something needs to be done to prevent other dogs going through this.

“The more people who know about it, the less chance there is that it will happen again. This illness can kill and if owners don’t act quickly their dogs could die.

“Chester went through all of that and I feel guilty because I took him there. Had I known about this illness I would never have gone there, and I won’t be going back there again.”

The Sandringham Estate had not responded to the Lynn News on the matter at the time of going to press.