Warning over mystery flesh eating disease goes out to dog owners

News. Photo: Shutterstock
News. Photo: Shutterstock

A warning to dog owners about a mysterious flesh eating disease that has killed a number of dogs across Britain in recent weeks has gone out from a Sussex vet.

The Mewes Veterinary Clinic in Haywards Heath is warning dog owners that Alabama Rot could spread here and their dogs could be at risk.

The disease was first detected in the New Forest in 2013 after dogs walked there had fallen ill and started to develop lesions on their legs, paws and face. They later developed kidney failure.

Other cases have since been recorded in 16 counties across the UK.

Practice owner and vet Julia Mewes said: “The most important thing to realise is that this condition has affected a very small number of dogs and that most wounds/lesions will not be related to this condition. However, if you notice your dog develop any skin wounds, do not just leave it and hope it will get better.

“Take them to a veterinary surgery so an experienced vet can give them a thorough check and take bloods to check for any signs of renal failure. The initial blood results may be normal, but experts are advising to check the results again after two to four days.”

Although the cause and name of the UK disease are unknown, analysis has shown it is similar to a disease that was first reported in the 1980s in America, called Alabama Rot.

Alabama Rot caused severe kidney failure and typically affected greyhounds. The deaths in Britain in the past year have affected a variety of breeds.

Julia added: “There has been a lull in cases, but this recent extremely mild damp weather appears to have caused it to flare up again. As it can be fatal, we take this extremely seriously.

“There have been some dogs that have pulled through. These dogs are the ones who have been caught early on in the disease process.

“If you are worried for your dog’s welfare then ensure they see a vet immediately.”

The Mewes Vets is based in Haywards Heath and has been established for nearly 20 years. It specifically treats pets within Mid Sussex.