Owner 'devastated' after labrador dies from Alabama rot

Alfie Image copyright Sara Hill
Image caption Alfie picked up the illness while out walking

A dog-owner has been left "devastated" after her beloved labrador died of Alabama rot - the 12th recorded case in the UK this year.

Sara Hill said her pet Alfie was a link to her husband Steve, who died aged 50 in November 2018.

The six-year-old is thought to have picked up the illness on Llantristant Common, in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Ms Hill's daughter Becky took Alfie for a walk there on 13 January and within days he began developing sores.

After searching the symptoms online Ms Hill, 54, mentioned Alabama rot to her vet.

One of the signs of the disease is kidney failure and vets confirmed Alfie had "extreme kidney damage", she said.

Image copyright Sara Hill
Image caption Owner Sara Hill has been left "devastated"

"I'm devastated, absolutely devastated," Ms Hill said about the death of Alfie, who was put down on 21 January.

"I lost my husband in November 2018. He had brain tumours and Alfie was his dog. They went everywhere together.

"It feels like a link to him has gone."

Llantrisant Town Trust, which manages the common, said three or four pets had fallen ill after walking there.

The charity's clerk, Dean Powell, said: "We have put up social media messages and had signs made which have been erected."

Image copyright Sara Hill
Image caption Alfie was put down on 21 January after his kidneys suffered "extreme" damage

Natural Resources Wales environment officer Emma Tucny said: "Following reports of a number of dogs becoming ill after visiting Llantrisant Common, our officers have been on site to investigate.

"It has been confirmed that the cause is due to Alabama rot, a rare disease that is believed to be picked up following muddy walks, however, the cause is unknown."

Fran Neve, of veterinary charity PDSA said: "Washing any mud off your dog after a wet or muddy walk may be of benefit, but this has yet to be proven as an effective method of prevention."

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