There are fears that dogs in Britain may fall victim to an incurable and fatal disease which causes pets to suffer kidney failure and to break out in horrible skin sores.
Three new cases of Alabama rot have been confirmed in diferent parts of the UK, prompting a warning that pet owners should be on their guard when taking their dogs for walks. The new cases have been found in Carlisle, Cumbria, in the north and near Axminster in Devon to the South. Neither area has reported a previous case, leading to fears that it is now spreading across the country.
Meanwhile the third new case has been reported in Monmouthshire, which is the third case in the Welsh country. While Alabama rot was first found in greyhounds in America three decades ago, there have now been 81 cases of Alabama rot in the UK. Seventeen of these have been in 2016.
Vets say that they are now investigating the cause of the disease and trying to find a potential cure. Currently, there is no known method for preventing a dog from contracting the disease, so there is no vaccine available to combat it. However, he said pet owners should be aware of the disease and be able to recognise the signs.
While the disease first began in greyhounds, it does not appear to target any particular breed, age, sex, or weight of dog. Treatment can be carried out, but it is only successful in 20 to 30 per cent of cases.
The first symptom is usually a skin sore, which has not been caused by an injury. Pet owners are being advised to look out for sores below the elbow or knee which look like a swelling, red skin, or an ulcer. Vets hope that by collating information about the disease, they can understand it better and potentially discover more effective treatments or even a cure.