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Northern Ireland woman's warning to dog owners after pet dies of rare disease

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Death: Jack Russell Storm

Death: Jack Russell Storm

Death: Jack Russell Storm

A Co Tyrone woman has spoken of her devastation after her beloved family pet fell victim to a rare but deadly disease.

Colleen Glasgow from Cookstown wants to raise awareness of Alabama Rot, which claimed the life of her 18-month-old Jack Russell terrier Storm.

Cutaneous renal glomerular vasculopathy, often termed CRGV or Alabama Rot causes damage to a dog's blood vessels of the skin and kidneys.

Canines infected with the disease suffer from skin ulcers, kidney failure and death as treatment is only successful in 20% of cases.

It is thought that the disease is picked up on the paws and legs on muddy walks and dog owners are being encouraged to wash off woodland mud.

Colleen says Storm contracted the condition after a walk at Lissan House in Cookstown and deteriorated rapidly before passing away over Christmas.

"She had a small lesion on her front paw on a Sunday which was treated as a minor wound but it didn't improve and by the Tuesday morning she was lame and quite tender on it.

"We took her to our vet who treated it as a skin infection and prescribed antibiotics and painkillers," Colleen explained.

"The lesion started to improve but over the next few days Storm became dull and lethargic before starting to vomit repeatedly.

"Initially we thought it was the effect of the medication and stopped it but when there had been no improvement and she was unable to even keep water down we took her back to the vets.

"She was examined and found to be slightly dehydrated.

"She was administered anti-sickness drugs and we were advised to try and treat her at home by syringing electrolytes into her mouth in droplets.

"Storm deteriorated further the following Sunday and we took her to the out-of-hours vets service where Storm was examined and her symptoms treated.

"She had deteriorated rapidly during the course of the evening and was now a very ill dog, unfortunately despite best attempts she could not be saved and passed away during the night.

Colleen added: "My family are completely devastated as we had Storm since she was a seven-week-old pup.

"Sadly in our case Storm could not be saved but we want to alert other dog owners to the disease."

Three other cases of the fatal canine disease have also been confirmed in the UK in Devon, Rutland and Gloucestershire.

The UK has had 204 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot since it was first identified in 2012, with 29 recorded during 2019.

Dr April Mark from Glenshane Veterinary Clinic in Maghera, who treated Storm, is urging dog owners to be vigilant and aware of the symptoms.

"Whenever dog owners have taken their animals for walks in muddy, wooded areas they should ensure that they wash their paws and legs well afterwards," she said.

"If they see any unexplained sores - by that I mean that they haven't observed the dog physically injuring themselves and a sore appears unexpectedly - they should seek prompt medical treatment with their own vet."

Belfast Telegraph