Dog owners are being warned to look out for symptoms of a potentially fatal flesh-eating disease in their pets after a surge of cases in the UK.
Known as Alabama Rot, symptoms begin with skin lesions on the paws or legs, which has led vets to advise that owners wash their pets after muddy walks.
Cases of Alabama Rot, which first appeared in the late 1980s in greyhounds in America, has spread to England in the last four years and is affecting all breeds, with eight recently confirmed cases in the Dorset area.
The skin disease, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, can lead to kidney failure.
Most cases are reported between November and May, according to Blue Cross for Pets.
Girling & Bowditch Vets' full statement:
We have had a confirmed case of cutaneous & renal glomerular vasculopathy, otherwise known as Alabama Rot in the Ryme Intrisica /West Chelborough area.
How to spot the symptoms of Alabama Rot:
Skin lesions appear as a distinct swelling or a patch of red skin
The sore, open wounds commonly appear below the elbow or knee
Within two to seven days of infection the dog will develop signs of kidney failure including vomiting, reduced hunger and tiredness
For more information on the disease and a map of confirmed cases, visit the Vets4Pets website