Dog owners have been warned to avoid walking their pets in muddy areas amid a rise in cases of a disease called Alabama rot.
The condition, which attacks the flesh of dogs, was first detected in the UK in 2012 and the number of cases has risen each year.
At least 29 cases have been confirmed this year already, with 40 in 2017 and 19 in 2016.
Alabama rot, otherwise known as CRBV, is a disease caused by damage to the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys, according to Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
It causes small blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them, leading the affected tissue to become damaged.
This can lead to ulceration of the skin and severe kidney failure.
The exact cause of the condition is not yet known.
Alabama rot was first discovered in greyhounds in the US in the 1980s, but it can affect all breeds of dog, regardless of age.
What are the symptoms of Alabama rot?
Initial symptoms include skin lesions on the legs, chest and abdomen, in which dogs may develop sore, open wounds.
The infected animal will develop signs of kidney failure and begin to vomit, while also displaying signs of fatigue and a reduced appetite.
What should you do if your dog is unwell?
There is no definitively known way of preventing the disease, but if your dog develops any of the above symptoms it should be taken to a vet straight away.
The vet will determine if the dog needs antibiotics to treat the sores and if the affected area needs to be covered.
There have not been any reported cases of a human contracting the disease from their dog.
Can you prevent Alabama rot?
It is thought that the disease can be picked up on the paws and legs on muddy walks, so it is advised to wash off woodland mud and check for signs on your pet.
Vets4Pets has a detailed map which you can check for cases of Alabama rot in your area.
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