Posted 20th March
Dog owners have been warned to take extra care following a fresh outbreak of Alabama rot, as a cocker spaniel died following a walk in the New Forest
Cathy Moss, the owner of the cocker spaniel, said: "It was astonishing – it was only about three days from us noticing the sores to her dying. It was just awful."
Experts are perplexed as to the reason behind the increase in the number of cases of the disease - so far this year, it's already killed seven dogs, with 81 deaths reported over the last four years.
Symptoms of the disease include vomiting and skin lesions, which can result in kidney failure and, in 80 per cent of cases, death.
Vets are also unsure as to what causes Alabama rot or how it can be prevented. It has been speculated that it will be picked up during muddy walks, with the bug able to multiply in humid conditions. Collecting in pools of water, these puddles will then become host to algae which is an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria.
So far the disease has been confirmed in 27 counties across the UK since 2012.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: "Owners should always keep their dogs under close control and be aware of anything they may pick up, chew or eat in a woodland area."
Animal Health Trust spokesman Farrah Owens said: "The best thing dog owners can do is be aware of the symptoms and access their vets as soon as they see signs of sickness, diarrhoea and lethargy. Dogs that visit their vet quickly tend to recover."
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