Killer dog disease death toll rises to 21

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21 dogs killed by mystery illness
21 dogs killed by mystery illness

A mystery disease has killed 21 dogs in 18 months.

Nearly 50 dogs have been struck down with the illness that causes symptoms including vomiting, lethargy and skin lesions on the legs and chest.

Vets across the country are baffled by the killer disease and continue to investigate.

Most of the cases have been around the New Forest in Hampshire but others have occurred in Cornwall, Surrey, Dorset, Yorkshire and Worcestershire.

Vet David Walker told Metro: "We don't know what the trigger is, which makes it very hard to treat. There's no pattern among dogs that have died. A vast array of breeds have been affected."

Owner Sarah Thairs, from Hampshire, whose three-year-old fox terrier cross is the latest casualty had taken her dog for a walk in the New Forest.

She told the Daily Mail: "Tests showed the disease had gone to her pancreas. I had to make the decision to put her down, which is heartbreaking."

According to the Daily Express, experts believe the disease is similar to Alabama Rot, which was discovered in America in the 1980s. The disease is said to be caused by a rare form of E.coli.

The Forestry Commission has put up posters around the New Forest to warn dog walkers.

A spokesman said: "As the cause is as yet unknown, signing some areas and not others implies that there are 'out of bounds' and 'safe' areas to walk dogs - which is misleading and given the low number of confirmed incidents the forest generally remains a safe place to walk your dog.

"The problem is not restricted to the New Forest and so we will make this approach more widely known for others outside of the New Forest to help spread awareness of the issue."

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