Alabama rot: Seaham dog owner warns after vizsla Jessie dies
A mother has warned other dog owners to be aware after her two-year-old vizsla Jessie died from Alabama rot.
Becky Hanson-Patterson from Seaham shared an emotional Facebook post after her dog died from the disease, the cause of which is unknown.
Jessie started showing signs of the condition, including skin irritation, on 9 February and died four days later.
Becky said: "It's horrendous to be honest, she was just like another family member."
The family was first alerted to Jessie's illness when she started being sick and showing signs of lethargy, as well as lesions between her paws.
They noticed a rash around the inside of her hind leg which looked like a blister and took her to the vets for treatment.
Becky said: "I woke up early Tuesday morning and all of the skin on her inside leg had just literally ate away."
Jessie was taken back to the vets and blood tests revealed her kidneys were failing. She was taken to a second vet and was put to sleep.
It is not know where she contracted the disease but she had previously been to Hawthorn Dene in County Durham, High force in Middleton-in-Teesdale, Ripon, Hetton-le-hole and fields between Seaton and Murton.
The disease was first identified in 2012 and it is believed 216 dogs have died in the UK from it since then, and there have been 12 deaths this year alone.
Vet David Walker, from specialists Anderson Moores, said: "I think what's important to say is that most skin sores on dogs will absolutely not be caused by this disease.
"There's no single skin lesion that I can say 'you know, this one is Alabama rot and this one isn't'.
"I think the key message is, if you see an unexplained skin sore on your dog... it would be very reasonable to have a conversation with your vet, show them the sore and get their opinion."
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Dr Walker said "we don't 100% know at this stage" how dogs are contracting Alabama rot, despite researching the condition for the past seven years.
But he added more than 92% of cases were seen between November and May, and they "quite strongly suspect there is some sort of environmental trigger".
What is Alabama Rot?
Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) or Alabama rot is a serious disease that has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK.
It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings.
Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure.
Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected and it is fatal in nine out of 10 dogs.