VETS are warning dog owners to look out for the signs of Alabama Rot, a disease that kills around 80 per cent of the animals it infects.

CRGV, commonly known as Alabama Rot, is a rare but highly dangerous disease which affects all breeds of dog and continues to baffle vets and scientists.

Dog dies from Alabama Rot after being walked in Bearwood and Canford Heath area

Symptoms begin with skin lesions on the paws or legs and can lead to kidney failure.

Without urgent treatment, dogs develop a raging fever and can eventually die.

It comes after Cocker Spaniel Maggie recently died from the disease after being walked in Bearwood, Canford Heath and Verwood forest area.

According to owner Cathy Moss it was the speed in which the disease killed her that was “most astonishing”.

“It was only about three days from us noticing the sores to her dying. It was just awful,” she added.

Cases of Alabama Rot, which first appeared in the late 1980s in greyhounds in America, has spread to England in the last five years and is affecting all breeds, with nine confirmed cases in the Dorset area.

Vets4Pets has an online search tool to help owners track the spread of the disease, which currently shows 86 confirmed cases across the UK since 2012 - with six in the first few months of 2017.

According to David Walker, head of medicine at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, who are spearheading research on the disease, said there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the disease.

“The cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown and as a result there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said Mr Walker.

“We are highly suspicious that there is an environmental trigger for the disease – but we have not been able to confirm it.”

And while this uncertainty doesn’t do anything to quell the fears of dog owners, Mr Walker has said a diagnosis of Alabama Rot is not always a death sentence.

“Unfortunately the fatality rate is quite high at 80 per cent – but that’s still one in five dogs surviving the disease,” he added.

“The other problem is that only tests on a kidney from an affected dog (most likely post mortem) will give 100 per cent confirmation of the disease. There have been a number of cases ‘confirmed’ by vets who have survived, but unless we carry out analysis of the pet, we will never be able to confirm the disease.”

Mr Walker has said there has been an increase in cases since 2012 since awareness of the disease was heightened – but the number of confirmed cases have now levelled out at around 20 to 30 a year.

For now Mr Walker is determined that research into the disease will continue despite limitations when it comes to funding. “It’s so vital that we find the cause because then we can look at prevention and treatment,” he added.

Donate to the Alabama Rot Research Fund at