England

Alabama rot believed to have caused 30 dog deaths

Dog Image copyright AP
Image caption The outbreak killed at least 30 dogs in less than 18 months across England

More research is needed in to a disease that killed 30 dogs in 18 months, veterinary experts have said.

According to research published in the Veterinary Record journal, the cause was suspected to be Alabama rot, which causes skin lesions and kidney failure.

But it is still not known where it came from and how it started.

Possible cases of Alabama rot, which is known in the USA, were identified in 71 dogs across England between November 2012 and March 2014.

Dogs from Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Dorset, Shropshire, Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire, County Durham and Monmouthshire displayed symptoms.

'Vomiting and fever'

The disease is known to affect dogs in the USA and has only occasionally been seen outside the country.

This is the first report of a series of cases in England.

Researchers identified 30 possible cases of Alabama rot, including in five English springer spaniels, four flat-coated retrievers and two border collies.

They were from multiple locations but 10 had been in the New Forest in Hampshire shortly before becoming unwell.

Most developed skin lesions and others developed tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.

Researchers said acute kidney injury in these dogs was caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the organs.

They concluded it was unclear whether this was an emerging disease or one that was previously present but unrecognised.

The report states: "Continued detailed evaluation will enhance the understanding of the disease and will hopefully help to identify possible triggers."

The Veterinary Record is published by the British Medical Journal Group on behalf of the British Veterinary Association.

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