Dog owners in Britain have been warned to keep their pets away from mud over fears they pick up a deadly disease.
A number of dog deaths from Alabama Rot have been reported in the UK, prompting the latest advice of how to prevent it.
There have been at least 29 deaths already this year after a record 37 were reported in 2017.
Owners are now being urged to wash any mud off their dogs when they return home in case they have picked up the disease – known as ‘dog’s black death’ – while out on walks.
The exact causes of the illness – also known as CRGV – is not clear but it could lead to fatal kidney failure if not detected early enough.
Figures show some 80% of all cases of Alabama Rot result in death as diagnosis comes too late for the dog to be treated.
The Dogs Trust said: ‘Where possible, stick to dry paths and keep dogs out of muddy or wet areas.
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‘Wash off any mud after your walk so you can check for any lesions or wounds and if you spot any, go to your vet.’
The first sign of Alabama Rot is usually a skin sore or lesion not caused by any known injury.
Kidney failure can occur in as little as two days and dog owners are urged to immediately go to the vet to determine if a dog has the disease.