Pet owners are being urged to be particularly cautious after a dog recently fell ill with the deadly disease Alabama Rot.
The poorly pup, from Huddersfield, was diagnosed in January following a walk near Hollingworth Lake near Rochdale, and it is feared further cold weather could lead to an outbreak.
A fresh outbreak
The latest case is the fifth diagnosis in Yorkshire since 2014, with others confirmed after dogs were walked in Leeds, Ripon, Keighley (Penistone Hill), Haworth, Guiseley, Otley Chevin, Yeadon Tarn and Golden Acre Park in Adel.
Cases of the deadly disease have been reported elsewhere across the UK, although London, Manchester and the New Forest are said to be particular hot spots for the condition.
Alabama Rot was first found in the UK in 2012 and around 200 dogs are thought to have died as a result of the painful condition since.
According to Vets4Pets, which is tracking the spread of the disease, around only 30 per cent of dogs survive once diagnosed with the condition.
What are the symptoms?
The flesh-eating conditions, scientifically known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vaculopathy (CRGV), can affect any age or breed of dog, although breeds which have been most affected include:
- English Springer Spaniels
- Cocker Spaniels
- Flat-coated Retrievers
- Hungarian Vizlas
- Border Collies
The first sign of the disease is often a sore on the skin, usually found under a dog’s elbow or knew.
The skin can become red and the sore may look like an open ulcer.
Other symptoms can include extreme fatigue, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, loss of appetite and drooling.
After a few days, the dog will start showing signs of kidney failure.
How to minimise the risk
Dog owners are being urged to hose down their pets after winter walks, taking care to clean any wet and muddy areas on the dog’s body to minimise the risk of contracting the disease.
Areas where there are stagnant pools of water present the biggest risk in contracting the disease, particularly in woodland, as germs are thought to thrive in the bushy, boggy ground during the winter months.
Many vets believe dogs can pick up the infection through mud on their paws and legs, so extra vigilance to keep pets clean can be lifesaving.
What do pet owners advise?
The exact cause of the disease is unknown, although many vets believe dogs can contract the infection from mud on their paws and legs.
While experts are still searching for a cure for Alabama Rot, vets say there is a chance of survival if the condition is diagnosed early.
Vets will first treat skin sores and kidney failure, but could refer your pet to a specialist hospital.