Vets are warning pet owners to be on their guard from a deadly disease killing dogs with the first ever Birmingham canine victim.
Alabama Rot has claimed the life of a dog which was walked in Edgbaston with another dog losing its life after contracting the disease on Cannock Chase.
The Edgbaston death is the first one in Birmingham and takes the total number of dogs who have died of the disease to 112 since it was first detected in the UK in 2012. Pet owners should watch the above video to see what the symptoms are - and catch the illness in time.
Vets and researchers believe that seasonality may be a factor in the spread of the mysterious condition – most cases occur from November to April.
David Walker, the UK’s leading expert on the condition, from Anderson Moores, said: “Although we are working hard to find out the cause of Alabama Rot, it is currently still unknown, which makes the reappearance of the disease concerning.
“It’s always desperately sad when we confirm new cases; however, it’s important that dog owners remain calm, but vigilant, particularly during the next few months.
“The first sign of the disease that is normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury. Most commonly these sores are found on the lower half of the leg and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.
“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.
Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, has been supporting research on the condition for a number of years, and is advising dog owners to contact their vet if they have any concerns.
He said: “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.
“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in around 20 percent 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 the condition.
“If a dog becomes affected, the best chance of recovery lies with early and intensive veterinary care at a specialist facility such as Anderson Moores. Such treatment has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering from the condition.
“Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately.
“This will help build knowledge about the disease and also give a dog the best chance of survival.
“However, it’s encouraging to see so many people from different organisations and fields of science coming together to find out more about Alabama Rot, and hopefully find the cause.”
Concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/ for advice and a map of confirmed cases.