A DOG had to be put down after likely contracting the deadly Alabama rot disease while walking in the New Forest – sparking a warning to owners.
The case involving a red fox Labrador occurred after it was taken for a walk by the owner at Wilverley Inclosure over the festive period.
Writing on Facebook, a friend of the owner said the dog died due to “kidney failure” that was “probably” caused by Alabama rot. “If you are out in the Forest and your dog gets muddy, make sure you wash it all off. If your dogs have a cut or a sore that is not healing, get it checked out by the vets.
“It’s important to act fast with this disease,” he added. “If the infection gets into the body and infects the kidneys, very few dogs will survive.”
A spokesman for the New Forest Dog Owners Group added: “This probable case of Alabama rot is serious and worrying for all dog owners, not least as it’s been a couple of years since the last outbreak in the New Forest.
“But it’s never entirely gone away and already this winter there were confirmed cases in Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey. The experts still aren’t sure about the cause of Alabama rot, or its scientific name, CRGV.
“But we know it gets into the dog’s bloodstream through open cuts while walking on wet or muddy ground,” he continued. “Some people have identified Wilverley as a hotspot, but there isn’t any real evidence to show it’s there or any other specific part of the New Forest.”
He added: “So the advice is simple. After a walk, wash your dog’s feet in cold water, and pay particular attention to any wounds. If you suspect anything, let your vet know immediately.
“Sadly most dogs that get the disease die. But to have the best chance of survival, if you suspect anything, the vet needs to know quickly so treatment can begin.
“The New Forest Dog Owners Group has been funding research into CRGV and we hope a cure will be found. Until then up-to-date information can be found at nfdog.org.uk.”
As reported in the A&T, over the last decade hundreds of dogs have died after contracting Alabama rot, and the New Forest is a known hotspot. The disease is believed to be transmitted through cuts and abrasions while walking in contaminated open wet areas.