A new case of the deadly dog disease Alabama Rot has been confirmed in Lancashire.
It is the second case to be confirmed in the county this year, with both dogs infected after returning from walks in popular beauty spots near Chorley.
Most recently, the incurable disease is reported to have led to the death of a dog in Horwich in April, after walks around Rivington Pike.
Since 2014, the disease has claimed the lives of five dogs in Lancashire.
According to the Kennel Club and Vets4Pets, who are both actively studying the disease, Alabama Rot is on the rise throughout the UK.
You can find out more about the latest confirmed case in Rivington Pike here.
So what do we know about the mysterious disease and how can we keep our pets safe?
What is Alabama Rot?
- Alabama Rot is a very rare but potentially life-threatening disease affecting dogs around the UK
- The cause of Alabama Rot is unknown, but it is thought to be linked to wet and muddy conditions
- The first reports of the disease came from the US state of Alabama in the 1980s
- At first, only greyhounds were affected, but it is now known that any breed can contract the disease
- The first case to be confirmed in the UK was in 2012
What can happen?
- The disease can damage a dog's skin and kidneys, and is often fatal
- There is no known cause or cure for the disease
What are the signs of Alabama Rot?
- Marks, sores and/or ulcers on the skin
- Lesions on paws
- Hair loss around sores
- Reduced appetite
Tips to lower the risk of catching Alabama Rot
With less than 200 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot in the UK as of March 2019, the risk of your dog getting the disease is small.
However, as the cause of the disease remains unknown there is no cure and every dog is potentially at risk.
- Evidence suggests that most cases occur in the winter and spring
- Keep dogs away from very muddy areas
- Wash wet or muddy dogs straight after a walk
- Always check your dog's body after a walk for anything different
- Speak to your vet immediately if you spot any concerning signs