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Deadly virus kills one dog a week – these are the signs you should look for

A mystery flesh-eating virus is killing one dog a week.

Pups with Alabama rot can develop painful sores and kidney damage but no one knows what causes it and signs are often picked up too late.

Farmer Gabrielle Williams, 34, was heartbroken when her whippet Fleur died after contracting the disease.

She said the first warnings were when five-year-old Fleur lost her ­appetite then developed a small sore on her foot and a limp. She died six days later.

Gabrielle, 34, said: “I took her to the vet who put her on painkillers and ­antibiotics. But the next morning I noticed sores in her mouth so took her back for blood tests.”

When she heard they suspected Alabama rot, Gabrielle said she “went cold” adding, “I knew the outcome often wasn’t good.”

Sadly, Fleur quickly deteriorated and had to be put to sleep.

Gabrielle said: “It was absolutely ­devastating. And I was very worried that my other four dogs would go down with it. For months afterwards, if they even got a little nick, I’d panic.”

The disease spikes from November to May and experts ­believe it may be linked to muddy walks.

What is Alabama Rot?

  • The devastating condition, officially called CRGV, can lead to a dog’s flesh rotting away.
  • It’s thought it originated in America among Greyhounds in the 1980s, but UK cases have only been reported in the last six years.
  • The disease results in kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting – but it can only be diagnosed post-mortem.
  • Symptoms include skin lesions, sore skin and kidney failure.

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