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Vets’ urgent warning to dog owners after pets killed by flesh-eating disease

Vets are urging dog owners to remain watchful of their pets after confirming two more cases of deadly Alabama Rot in the UK.

The fatal, flesh-eating disease killed one dog a week in 2019, and has now tragically killed five dogs in the UK since the start of 2022.

Experts at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester have released updated information that the two latest pooch cases occurred in Bristol and Kingston, Devon.

The Mirror reports that the animal hospital has been leading research into the Alabama Rot virus since 2012, and it is combining information on all confirmed cases and reports across the country.

Toe lesion on dog hit with Alabama Rot

David Walker, who is an American, RCVS and EBVS European specialist in small animal internal medicine, leads the team at the hospital and is the UK’s top authority on the disease.

He said: “We’re very sad to confirm two further cases of CRGV. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the time of year when cases are most commonly identified.

“It is understandably worrying for dog owners; however, I must stress this disease is still very rare.

“We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and to seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”

David Walker is the UK's leading specialist on the disease
David Walker is the UK’s leading specialist on the disease

Alabama Rot has a 90 per cent mortality rate, and pups with the disease can develop painful sores and kidney damage – but no one knows the cause and signs are often picked up too late.

The two new confirmed cases follow 28 throughout 2021 and 47 in 2020, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 284.

While Alabama Rot is often fatal, Mr Walker said the best chance of recovery probably lies with early and intensive veterinary care which may be best provided at a specialist facility.

Paw suffering with the flesh-eating virus
Paw suffering with the flesh-eating virus

He said: “We have been at the forefront of research into CRGV for almost a decade and have witnessed first-hand the often-devastating effects of the disease.

“Treatment largely revolves around intensive management of the sudden onset kidney failure and, sadly, with our current understanding of the disease, is only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.”

Mr Walker added that he hoped Anderson Moores’ dedicated new CRGV website would be a useful tool in raising awareness of the disease among dog owners.

Dog's leg lesion after being diagnosed with Alabama Rot
Dog’s leg lesion after being diagnosed with Alabama Rot

“In launching this new website, we aim to give pet owners as much information as possible about CRGV,” he said.

“We hope the confirmed case map will also prove useful. Although an environmental trigger has not been definitively proven, the seasonality of the disease makes it eminently possible and the map allows everyone to see the location of confirmed cases.”

To view the nationwide live map of cases, visit Anderson Moores CRGV website.

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