Dog owners warned over Alabama Rot risk

Vets across the UK have issued a new warning to dog owners after it was revealed that Alabama Rot has affected 14 dogs in the first four months of 2016.

A deadly fungal infection, the disease was first discovered in greyhounds in the US during the 1980s. However, since 2012 it has made a resurgence in the UK, affecting 78 dogs across 16 counties in the last four years.

Vets have suggested that dog owners should look out for the initial signs of the disease, most notably skin sores around the elbow or knee that appear as a swelling, patch of red skin or an ulcer.

Any owners who spot these signs have been advised to consult their vet, who can conduct kidney tests to confirm if the disease is present.

According to Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, treatment for Alabama Rot is only successful in 20-30% of cases, but spotting early signs can increase survival chances.

“If a dog becomes affected the best outcome will probably come from early and intensive veterinary care, which has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering,” he said.

“Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately.”

Although the cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown, the high number of cases that have originated in woodland have prompted Vets4Pets to advise owners to wash of all woodland mud after each walk.

Vets4Pets have also launched a map of confirmed cases, which will reveal if there have been any confirmed cases near you.

Visit the Vets4Pets website to find out more.


Alabama Rot Blamed for 30 dog deaths

Veterinary experts have said that more research is needed into a disease that killed 30 dogs over 18 months.

According to research published in the Veterinary Record journal, the cause of the dogs’ deaths was suspected to be Alabama Rot, which causes skin lesions and kidney failure.

It is still not known how the disease, which is known in the USA, began but possible cases have so far been identified in 71 dogs across England between November 2012 and March 2014.

Dogs from Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Dorset, Shropshire, Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire, County Durham and Monmouthshire have displayed symptoms.

This is the first report of a series of cases in England, with five English springer spaniels, four flat-coated retrievers and two border collies amongst those that have died.

Although the dogs were from multiple locations, 10 had been in the New Forest in Hampshire shortly before becoming unwell.

Most of the dogs developed skin lesions but some also developed tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.

Researchers stated that these symptoms were the result of acute kidney injury caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the organs.

The report stated: “Continued detailed evaluation will enhance the understanding of the disease and will hopefully help to identify possible triggers.”

Retriever becomes 14th victim of mystery poisonings

Five-year-old flat-coated retriever Erin has become the 14th victim of a mysterious toxin that’s claiming the lives of dogs in the New Forest and elsewhere in the south of the country.

The first sign of the disease, which so far has no name, includes lesions on the lower legs and feet, followed by kidney failure, which sets in two to seven days later.

Erin contracted the illness at St Catherine’s near Christchurch, Dorset, after which a blood test found a high level of toxicity and sent her to a specialist in Winchester.

Erin was put not a drip but as her condition worsened her owner, Tracy Graham, made the decision to put her down.

She said: “Her sore became really nasty but I couldn’t find a thorn or anything anywhere as I thought she had become infected. Unfortunately nobody told me to get her blood tested every day after she became ill. It may have picked up the toxin earlier and who knows – she could have been saved”

“When she began vomiting I just said ‘Please, put her down now’. It wasn’t fair on poor Erin.”

Since December 2013, 14 dogs have been killed by the disease, with five confirmed and seven unconfirmed cases in the New Forest.


Owners warned as white substance washed up in Cornwall

Dog owners in Cornwall are being urged to take care on the coast after a white substance has started washing up on the beaches.

The substance, which was blamed for the death of a number of dogs when it appeared previously in October, has been washed up on the north coast, between Sennen and Porth.

The deposits are believed to be the same as the previous substance, which was confirmed as being non-toxic, edible oil or fat, but Cornwall Council has put up signs to inform beach visitors.

David Owens, assistant head of environments at the local council, said: “Once again we are especially advising dog owners to be vigilant. Please keep you dog on a lead as there have been reports in the past that the substance could be dangerous for dogs if they eat a large amount of it.”

The council is continuing to monitor the beaches in the area but has asked that anyone who spots the deposits to report it to the customer contact centre on 0300 1234 141.

Vets warn of mystery New Forest poison

A mystery toxin that is responsible for the deaths of at least 12 dogs is thought to have poisoned two more pets in the New Forest.

The two recent cases, which occurred a year after the initial outbreaks, have seen one dog die and another struggling to fight the toxin.

Many of the initial fatalities occurred between December 2012 and March 2013, suggesting that the toxin may be seasonal.

But despite the high number of fatalities, experts are no closer to identifying the toxin, which causes skin lesions and acute kidney failure.

Local vets have warned dog owners to be vigilant when walking in the forest throughout the winter and spring seasons.

Vet David Walker of Winchester-based Anderson Moores said: “Some of the first cases were presented this time last year and it’s incredibly concerning that it might be starting again.”

He continued:

“Our message to pet owners is to be vigilant and consult a vet immediately if their dog develops skin lesions.”

Dog owners across other parts of the UK have also been warned of the mystery toxin after cases have been reported in Cornwall, County Durham and Surrey.