A WEST Dorset vet is warning dog owners after a case of deadly Alabama Rot was confirmed in Dorset.

The team at Girling and Bowditch in Beaminster treated Lottie the Labrador for the potentially fatal disease and the two-year-old pulled through.

Now an alert has gone out to pet owners to be aware of the possible signs of the illness.

It is not yet known how the disease is spread, but it is believed to be as the result of exposure to a specific toxin which is present in the environment.

Vet Terry Girling said: “Dogs can suffer from ulcers to their legs for a variety of reasons.

“With Alabama Rot it is an early symptom and is caused by a toxin in the blood rather than by an obvious injury.

“Lottie’s health began to decline rapidly as the toxin began to affect her whole body. “She was hospitalised for an intensive intravenous treatment programme which continued for five days.

“Fortunately, in this instance the outcome for Lottie was good, she has returned to health and is expected to make a full recovery.”

The difficulty for owners is to determine whether leg sores or ulcers are the result of injury or a sign of a more serious condition which could be fatal.

“These symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions, but as a precaution we advise owners to contact their vet.

“It is important to stress that this disease is relatively rare but we have now seen Alabama Rot a number of times in the region so that owners should be aware and, if concerned, act quickly," advises Terry Girling.

Over the past year there have been cases of Alabama Rot reported in Dorset and Hampshire, including a number in the New Forest.

Girling and Bowditch is advising owners to contact their vet if they have concerns or if their dog is showing open sores or ulcers on their legs with no obvious signs of injury or signs of illness such as vomiting, reduced appetite, and lethargy.

Further details about Alabama Rot can be found on the practice website beaminstervets.co.uk