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Urgent warning for dog owners after cases of deadly disease Alabama Rot confirmed near London; Find out how to prevent it as well as how to spot the signs.

Byline: By, Lauren MacDougall & Qasim Peracha

Pet owners have been warned about a potential outbreak of a deadly dog disease after two confirmed cases near London.

The mysterious disease CRGV, also known as Alabama Rot, has been confirmed in Kent and Surrey as well as seven other counties across England and Wales on Tuesday February 11.

Specialist vets Anderson Moores confirmed a case of the flesh-eating disease in Paddock Wood in Kent as well as the case in Lower Kingswood, Surrey.

Vets ans scientists have still not been able to work out how the disease spreads from dog to dog, but they know the fatal disease, which first appeared in the UK in 2012, can affect dogs of any age, sex or breed, Kent Live reports.

One theory is that the disease may spread from mud picked up on paws during walks, which means dog owners should be very careful when going for walks.

Owners should wash any mud off their dogs when they return home and watch out for signs of the illness, which causes tiny blood clots, blocking off blood vessels and leading to ulceration and even organ failure and is fatal for nine out of 10 dogs who contract it.

You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you believe it could have contracted Alabama Rot

If it's not spotted early enough it could lead to potentially fatal kidney failure, with most cases leading to death within a week as the diagnosis often comes too late.

As well as Kent and Surrey, the seven other confirmed cases are in Croespenmaen Caerphilly, Otley W.Yorkshire, Seaham County Durham, Lichfield and Newchurch Staffordshire, Budleigh Salterton Devon and Suckley Worcestershire.

In total, the UK has now seen 216 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot across 44 counties, since 2012.

The most cases was in 2018, when 52 were confirmed. So far this year there have already been 12.

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What is Alabama Rot

The devastating condition, officially called CRGV, can lead to a dog's flesh rotting away.

It's thought it originated in America among Greyhounds in the 1980s, but UK cases have only been reported in the last six years.

The disease results in kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting -but it can only be diagnosed post-mortem.

Symptoms include skin lesions, sore skin and kidney failure.

David Walker, the UK's leading expert on the condition, from Anderson Moores, said: "We are sad to announce more cases from this year, as we are now in the time of year when cases are most common.

"Further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners; however, this disease is still very rare, so we're advising dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.

"While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, any concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/ for advice and a map of confirmed cases."

The highest number of confirmed cases have been in Greater Manchester, Dorset, Devon and the New Forest in Hampshire.

Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, has been supporting research on the condition for a number of years.

He is advising dog owners to contact their vet if they have any concerns.

He said: "While it is understandable that dog owners will be worried by Alabama Rot, it is still a very rare disease and we'd encourage owners to continue exercising their pet.

"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.

"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, and visit a vet if they have any concerns."

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Credit: handout

There are nine cases of Alabama rot across the country

Credit: Surrey Advertiser -Grahame Larter

Warning signs put up in Surrey after a dog died from Alabama rot

Credit: PDSA

It is not exactly known how the rot spreads from dog to dog, although the most common theory is that it is through wet mud
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Title Annotation:Health
Author:By, Lauren MacDougall & Qasim Peracha
Publication:Get West London (Watford, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 12, 2020
Words:747
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