Fears are growing a killer canine disease may be spreading to Northern Ireland with dog owners urged to wash their pets after a walk.
The Daily Mail has reported a warning for dog owners to wash their pets after taking them for a walk to avoid the disease Alabama Rot.
It has been responsible for the deaths of almost 80 dogs in the UK over four years.
The disease originated in America in the 1980s and causes skin lesions and kidney failure. In the last four months it has claimed the lives of 14 pets, the Mail reported.
There is no known way to prevent the disease.
Confined to southern England it's thought 'highly likely' Scotland and Northern Ireland have had cases recently.
The cause is still unknown, and only one in three dogs is likely to survive even if it gets rapid treatment.
Vets have urged owners to take extra precautions when out walking their dogs this summer.
David Walker, from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester told the Daily Mail: "We have a strong suspicion Alabama Rot has an environment trigger but we cannot confirm that with 100 per cent confidence.
"The suspicion is that whatever causes this disease is ingested orally.
"While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, there is a very useful guide available online to help people understand where in the UK confirmed cases have been found and advice on how to spot signs."
He added: "There is a suggestion that there is an environmental factor, we don't have clear evidence to back that up, but it can't not help to wash down your dog after a walk."