The Queen -- and her beloved corgis -- may have received an early Christmas gift.
There were 95 cases of Seasonal Canine Illness -– linked to bites from harvest mite larvae -– in September and October this year. Of those, 49 came from Sandringham, site of the Queen’s annual family Christmas gathering.
Last year, six of 37 dogs died after being hit with the illness on the public lands around the Sandringham estate. Two more have died this year, though none have come from Queen’s brood of four corgis and three dorgis (a corgi-dachshund cross). (Photo: Queen and Prince Philip with a couple of their corgis in 1973.)
Buckingham Palace won’t say if the Queen has stopped walking her dogs on the estate, though a spokesperson said they are “taking the reports of sick dogs very seriously.”
Signs were put up around the estate warning of the SCI threat in affected areas. Now, with no new cases, it looks like the Queen’s corgis can romp freely, as can the Labradors that accompany the royal hunting party for the Boxing Day pheasant hunt.
The Animal Heath Trust (http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/seasonal_illness.html) warns that dog owners stay vigilant and get their canine to a vet if it vomits, has diarrhoea or is excessively tired within 24 hours of walking in woodlands.
The Queen has long been attached to the corgi breed. She was given her first one, Susan, at age 18. The 30 or so corgis the monarch has had since then have descended from the original.
Up to this point, the biggest threat to the health of the corgis may have been Princess Anne's dogs. A few days before Christmas 2003, Princess Anne arrived at Sandringham with her bull terrier. As the door opened, one of the Queen's corgis raced to welcome the visitors and was attacked by the terrier. The injured dog was treated, but hours later was put down.