UK faces deadly 'Alabama Rot' dog disease crisis

Three new cases have been identified in Devon and Cumbria


Three new cases of deadly dog disease Alabama Rot have been identified in the UK.

The worrying new cases have been found in Devon and Cumbria, with both areas never having reported problems with the killer disease before.

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Alabama Rot first appeared in the late 1980s, affecting greyhounds in America, before spreading to other parts of the world.

The disease, which can lead to skin sores and kidney failure in dogs, has now been found in 27 counties across the UK since 2012.

Vets are now urging dog owners to take extra care when walking their pets this winter.

David Walker, from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and experts in the condition, said: "The cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown and sadly there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease.

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"It's important that vets inform us of any suspected cases of Alabama Rot in the UK, so we can continue to learn more about this dreadful disease."

A total of 81 cases have been confirmed in the UK, 17 in 2016 so far, including new cases from Carlisle, Caldicot in Monmouthshire and Raymond's Hill in Devon.

David added: "There have been a number of cases confirmed by vets, but unless we carry out analysis of the tissues, we will never be able to 100% confirm the disease.

"Only tests on a kidney from a dog suspected to be suffering from the disease will give confirmation."

Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, outlined symptoms dog owners should look out for.

He said: "The first sign is normally seen is a skin sore that isn't caused by a known injury.

"Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open or ulcer-like."

Concerned owners are being asked to visit