South East Wales

Alabama Rot: Woman calls for more awareness after dog dies

Bilbo the jack russell Image copyright Rachel Ogden
Image caption Bilbo, an 11-year-old Jack Russell, had a large collection of bow ties, his owner said

A woman is calling for more awareness about a disease which can be fatal for dogs after her Jack Russell died.

Bilbo has been confirmed as the seventh dog to have died in Wales from complications caused by Alabama Rot..

The disease was first recognised in the UK in 2012 and since then 123 fatal cases have been reported.

Bilbo's owner Rachel Ogden, from Penrhiwfer, Rhondda Cynon Taff, wants to raise awareness of the symptoms to "avoid further devastation".

Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected by Alabama Rot, the cause of which is unknown.

Vet figures show 2017 was the worst year for cases in the UK, with 37 incidents confirmed, and there have already been three in 2018.

Ms Ogden said Bilbo developed lesions after going on his usual walk in Penrhiwfer.

"Initially it was a little nick on his paw and from there it developed into an open sore that looked like a burn," she said.

Blood tests showed him to have kidney failure and after he died, a vet was able to confirm Alabama Rot.

"We as a family lost our best friend that day," said Ms Ogden.

Image copyright Rachel Ogden
Image caption Symptoms of Alabama Rot include lesions on the skin, like those pictured on Bilbo's paw

Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said he understood why owners were worried but said Alabama Rot was "still a very rare disease" and owners should continue to exercise their dogs as normal.

Dr Kim Stevens, of the Royal Veterinary College, is researching the causes.

She said: "An obvious pattern that we can see is linked to seasons, with the vast majority of cases occurring between November and March."

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