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Dog owners warned of flesh-eating Alabama Rot outbreak as 5 UK cases confirmed

Dog owners have been warned about an outbreak of a terrifying flesh-eating disease diagnosed in UK pets.

Five dogs have been diagnosed with deadly Alabama Rot which eats dogs alive and caused their organs to fail. .

The disease has been found in dogs in West Sussex, Wiltshire and Berkshire and first reached the UK in 2012 from the United States.

Alabama Rot thrives in wet wintry weather when the ground is sodden and dogs are taken for walks.

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Winchester-based veterinary specialist Anderson Moores confirmed the cases were near Horsham, West Sussex, where two dogs died, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and in Hungerford, Berkshire, where there were two victims.

The UK's leading expert on the disease, David Walker, warned: "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 owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions."

Numerous dogs have contracted the disease since the condition reached Briton and cases have been reported in Greater Manchester, Dorset and the New Forest in Hampshire.

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Vet Dr Ian Hopkins said: “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.

“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 death 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 owners.”

The London Royal Veterinary College warn fewer than one in five dogs survive the disease.

All breeds are at risk but those most affected include Labradors, English Springer, Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels and Whippets.

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