A THIRD case of the deadly dog disease Alabama Rot has been confirmed in the county.

In a new wave of reported canine casualties across the UK, cases have been identified in previously unaffected counties, with Monmouthshire learning of its third affected dog last week.

The new cases were recently found in Cumbria and Devon, which have never reported any cases of the mysterious illness before, whilst the third has been identified in Caldicot.

Vets are urging dog owners to take extra precautions when out walking their dogs this winter, as the disease has no known cure and is usually fatal.

Alabama Rot first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, but has now been found in 27 counties across the UK since 2012.

Vets are continuing the search to find the cause and a possible cure, including Alabama Rot experts at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and Vets4Pets.

“The cause of Alabama Rot, or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, (CRGV) is still unknown,” said David Walker, from Anderson Moores.

“Sadly there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease.”

Most cases tend to appear between November and June and some say it can be caused by a rare form of E.coli.

It is thought that the disease is picked up from contact with mud, especially on forest floors, and so it is important that a dog’s legs are washed well immediately after a walk.

Alabama Rot can lead to kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting and without urgent treatment they develop a raging fever before they die.

“The concern for 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,” said Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets.

“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in 20 to 30 per cent of cases, which is why we’re encouraging all dog owners to use the online interactive guide to help them understand the clinical signs and confirmed locations of Alabama Rot.

“The first sign that is 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 affected the best outcome will probably come from early and intensive veterinary care, which has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering.

“Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately.

“This will help build the knowledge about the disease and also give a dog the best chance of survival.

“We would also encourage all vets and owners to work with David and his team at Anderson Moores so we can have a clear picture of confirmed cases in the UK, to help prevent more dogs falling victim to this terrible disease.”

To find out where in the UK cases of Alabama Rot have been confirmed visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/