Dog owners’ Alabama rot warning

Dog owners have been warned to keep their pets away from our rivers and muddy areas - the first case of Alabama rot having been confirmed in the Borders.

The infection – which almost always ends in the death of the dog – causes irreversible kidney failure, and shows up through skin sores.

It has been spreading throughout the UK, with 150 cases since 2012, but this has been the first confirmed case in the region.

A flat-coated retriever had played in and around local rivers, including the Tweed near Melrose and Gattonside, in the days before she became affected.

Clinical director Melanie Broad of Border Vets said: “She developed skin lesions on her legs and was taken to Border Vets, but she deteriorated, and it was not possible to save her.

“The first sign is usually a sore on the legs, belly or face, which might be bald, swollen, moist and quite red looking.

“This infection causes irreversible kidney failure so almost all dogs will sadly die of it.

“Our advice is to try to avoid letting your dog play in muddy areas and if they do get wet or dirty on a walk then wash them when you get home. Check them for any scrapes or sores and ask your vet to check out any wounds you can’t explain.”