'Alabama Rot' can kill dogs
There have been 14 cases this year alone (file picture)
A deadly fungal infection called Alabama Rot which can kill dogs is spreading across the UK.
A total of 78 dogs have been confirmed with the disease since 2012, with 14 in the first four months of 2016.
London, Monmouthshire, West Sussex and Surrey have seen two confirmed cases this year, while Cheshire, Greater Manchester Lancashire, Wiltshire, East Sussex and Wrexham have all had one confirmed.
Since 2012 there have been 12 cases in Greater Manchester, alone.
As reported in the Manchester Evening News in April, a landlady urged dog owners to stay away from woodland near Wigan , after her pet contracted Alabama Rot and had to be put down.
Signs warning dog owners of the disease have gone up around the Wigan and Salford border in countryside around Boothstown and Astley.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has been found in at least 27 counties in England and Wales since 2012.
“The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said David Walker, from Anderson Moores Vetinary Specialists.
“While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, there is a very useful guide available online to help people understand where in the UK confirmed cases have been found and advice on how to spot signs.
“Any concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/.”
Bradley in Wigan had to be put down after catching a deadly fungal infection called Alabama Rot
To help collate correct data for dog owners, Anderson Moores is calling for all UK vets to contact them if they see a dog they suspect has Alabama Rot.
“Only tests on a kidney from an affected dog, most likely post mortem, will give 100% confirmation of the disease,” added David.
“There have been a number of cases ‘confirmed’ by vets, but unless we carry out analysis of the affected pet, we will never be able to confirm the disease.”
Vets4Pets, which has nearly 400 practices across the UK, is supporting the research work.
“The concern among vets in the UK is that, unlike the Alabama Rot that affected greyhounds in America, the disease in the UK does not seem to target any specific breed, age, sex or weight of dog,” said Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets.
“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in 20-30% of cases, which is why we’re encouraging all dog owners to use the online interactive guide to help them understand the clinical signs and confirmed locations of Alabama Rot."
“The first sign that is normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury," he continued.
"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 and ulcer-like.
“Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately.”