DISEASE SPIKE Urgent warning to dog walkers over ‘flesh-eating’ disease as new cases confirmed in UK – with worst hit areas revealed

 AN URGENT warning has been issued to dog walkers over a "flesh-eating" disease as new cases are confirmed in the UK - here's the worst hit areas.

Pet owners have been hit with a deadly disease known as Alabama Rot, which is capable of causing flesh to rot.

Dog walkers have been issued with an urging warning
Dog walkers have been issued with an urging warningCredit: Getty
The Alabama Rot blocks blood vessels in your dog's skin and kidneys
The Alabama Rot blocks blood vessels in your dog's skin and kidneys

The dangerous illness, known as CRGV, is rare but can be fatal as it blocks blood vessels in your dog's skin and kidneys.

The life-threatening condition has already caused a toll of cases spreading in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the North of England.

The latest victims were reported in the Dorchester area of Dorset near the rural housing estate of Poundbury.

The veterinary practice spotted the disease in a little dog for the first time, which tragically passed away.Alice Moore from Castle Vets said: “We have had two cases in the last few weeks. It’s really horrible to have our first case.

"It seems to be affecting outdoor dogs and those dogs that have walked in woodlands – they are assuming it is some toxin they are picking up on their foot.

"We are advising people to wash the dogs legs off when they come back in case it is something they are coming back with." 

It typically affects dog breeds including Labradors, spaniels and vizslas - but experts claimed all pets are at risk.Symptoms include skin sores often below the elbow or knee and they can also involve the paws.

Dog owners may spot a patch of red skin with or without a defect like an ulcer in the skin.

The dangerous illness can lead to fatal kidney failure within ten days from the first symptoms.

Although there is no known cure, Alice said dog owners shouldn't fear.

She said: “Because it’s a new disease and is emerging, and we are doing research, it is hard to recommend prevention – we still don’t know what causes.

"In practice it is very hard to treat and it is why it frightens people. But people should not panic.”

How to protect your pet

AS the cause of the disease is not known, it’s tricky to prevent your pooch from picking it up but experts say:

  • keep your dog away from very muddy areas
  • wash and dry your dog after a walk if they get wet or muddy.

It is also advisable to check over your dog’s body every day for signs of any ulcers or sores.

If you are worried your dog may have Alabama Rot, the RSPCA recommends taking them to see the vet as soon as possible.

Symptoms include skin sores, visible swelling, red patches or skin defects not caused by a known injury, and reduced appetite, drinking more, vomiting and lethargy.

Another victim from the same family has also been affected by the disease and was treated by specialist vets Anderson Moores, in Winchester.

Phoenix Canine Therapies, a clinical masseuse for dogs, said: "He is a healthy seven-year-old Labrador and they noticed the wound on the Tuesday last week.

"It was a tiny graze and became an ulcerated horrible thing and overnight it had become so much worse.

"The thinking is that it is in woodland but this dog did not walk in woodland, just on pavement and in fields."

Veterinaries urged people to be on the lookout while walking their dogs around the country.

It comes as there were dozens of confirmed cases around the UK so far this year.

Veterinaries at Anderson Moores said: "Unfortunately, we have had a busy winter period.

"Locations have included Surrey, Hampshire, North Yorkshire, Kent, Cornwall, and Staffordshire."

The highest number of confirmed cases have been in Greater Manchester, Dorset, Surrey, Devon and the New Forest.

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