Vets are urging pet owners to be on the look-out for signs of a deadly flesh-wasting bacteria which has killed several dogs in the UK over the last couple of months.
According to the Independent Alabama Rot is caused by E. Coli bacteria excreting toxins which cause skin lesions on a dog’s body and legs – and eventual kidney failure in many cases. The disease was originally spotted in greyhounds in the 1980s but experts have warned that more and more other breeds are now being affected – with five dogs succumbing to it since October.
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Talking to the Western Daily Press Mike Nolan, of the Darley House practice in Greater Manchester, said:
The worry is that this might be the beginning of a cluster of cases. If you think your dog might be presenting with this illness, it really is a case of drop everything and get to the vets.
If an infected dog is treated early and intensively it is possible that their life can be saved but the likelihood of death is extremely high. Infection by Alabama Rot can also only be definitively confirmed by a post mortem which means vets can only guess at the likely diagnosis beforehand.
According to the Western Daily Press, there have now been 60 confirmed deaths between November 2012 and March 2015 from the killer illness.
David Walker, head of internal medicines at vets Anderson Moores, said:
The signs to look out for are often little lesions below the knee or elbow and circular or like an ulcer The hair will fall off which will get the dog’s attention and they may start licking it. However, the difficulty is not all the lesions will look the same.
After lesions begin to appear, over the next two to ten days dog develop kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness. Specialists in treating Alabama Rot recommended washing dogs thoroughly after a walk, but warned there was no known preventative measures that could be taken.