DOG owners are being instructed to keep their four-legged friends away from mud if possible, after cases of a deadly disease were reported in Hampshire.
Flesh-eating disease Alabama Rot has hit UK soil – a disease that is contracted from mud.
Dog owners are being instructed to wash all mud off their dogs as soon as they return home from walks, and to keep an eye out for any sores or lesions – the first signs of the disease.
Owners are also advised to keep an eye out for lethargy, vomiting and a loss of appetite, which are all signs of Alabama Rot-related kidney failure.
Alabama Rot affects all dog breeds and can cause a fatal kidney failure, with many cases leading to death within a week.
Although no cases have yet been reported in the Portsmouth area, there have been incidents in the South Downs and New Forest, with a spike in cases across the UK breaking out in the past 12 months, with some even stretching as far as Scotland.
Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, says that it is better to be safe than sorry and so dog owners should consult a vet immediately if they are concerned.
He said: ‘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.
‘Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately.’
PDSA nurse Katy Orton said: ‘Ulcerated area sores can be seen on the skin, but it is the damage to blood vessels inside the kidneys which can lead to organ failure.
‘In many cases, the cause of these sores will not be Alabama Rot, but it’s important for a vet to examine your dog and rule it out before it potentially develops into kidney failure.
‘If your dog is displaying these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary help.’
The true cause of the disease, which is clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is still unknown.
Katy said: ‘We still don’t know exactly what causes the disease – whether it is a bacteria/virus or fungal cause.’