Pet owners are being warned as there has been an outbreak of Alabama rot in the UK.
The deadly disease has reportedly claimed five lives so far in the UK this season, with cases found near Horsham, West Sussex and in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Two cases of the flesh-eating skin disease, which can kill dogs if left untreated, were reported in the UK back in October – one in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and one in Westbury in Wiltshire.
The skin condition spread to the UK from the US seven years ago, and has since killed hundreds of dogs.
And now vets are encouraging pet owners to look out for symptoms in their pets after the most-recently reported cases.
One of the main symptoms to look out for are lesions on the mouth, tongue and lower limbs.
The incidents earlier this year were diagnosed by specialist veterinary referral centre in Winchester Anderson Moores, whose employee David Walker said, “These further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners.
“However, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”
Animal care organisation Vets4Pets has said that treatment for the condition is only successful in 20 per cent of cases.
“The best advice is to continue enjoying exercising your dog but always be mindful of certain symptoms which may indicate a nasty disease such as Alabama Rot,” said vet Dr Ian Hopkins.
“These can include lethargy, vomiting and maybe your dog is drinking more than usual.
“With Alabama Rot, the dog will often have skin lesions or ulcers – in the mouth, on the tongue and lower limbs including feet are common place.
“However, the lesions are not always present and in the case we have just dealt with, there were no sign of any lesions at all.
“It affects all types of dogs of all ages which therefore makes it a matter of concern for all dog owners.”
Cases have been reported in different parts of the UK, but there are certain areas where the condition has been more prominent.
The highest number of incidents have been confirmed in Greater Manchester, Dorset, Devon and Hampshire’s New Forest.
Be sure to keep an eye on your pets and do take them to your local vet if you feel that something is not right.