WARNING: Dogs at risk of deadly disease
Dog owners are being warned about the deadly Alabama Rot disease.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, is spreading across England.
Dog owners should take extra precautions when out walking their animals and look out for the warning signs, according to experts.
Huw Stacey, head of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: "The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease.
"The concern among vets in the UK is that unlike the Alabama Rot that affected greyhounds in America, the disease in the UK does not seem to target any specific breed, age, sex or weight of dog.
"Of course cases are currently extremely rare and this information is aimed at preventing a large-scale outbreak by stopping the disease spread and ensuring dogs are kept safe while enjoying the great outdoors."
Mr Stacey added: "The first sign normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury.
"Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.
"If a dog becomes infected the best outcome will come from early and intensive veterinary care, which has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering.
"Any dog owners who think their pet has Alabama Rot symptoms should contact their nearest vet immediately.
"This will help build knowledge about the spread of the disease and also give a dog the best chance of survival," he added.
For more information about the disease, visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot