Dog owners are being given advice on spotting the symptoms of Alabama Rot.
In the past few years, a small number of dogs have died unexpectedly around the country. Test results and symptoms in the affected animals have been similar to those reported in dogs with Alabama Rot.
More recently, there have been 10 further cases around the country.
In response, Durham County Council is issuing the following advice to owners who may be concerned about the issue.
• If your dog has been in a wet or muddy area, make sure you wash them with anti-bacterial shampoo.
• Look out for any unexplained skin lesions or sores on the limbs or face of your dog. Lesions can vary in size from that of a 5p to a 50p coin.
• Seek advice from your vet immediately if you think your pet may have been affected by Alabama Rot.
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Despite various tests being carried out nationally, the exact cause of the disease is unknown and, as such, there is no known way of preventing dogs from contracting the disease.
“We are, therefore, advising people to be aware of the symptoms and to seek advice from their vet as soon as possible if they are concerned about their pet.
“That said, it is important to remember that Alabama Rot is rare and only a very small number of animals have been affected by the disease so far. Hundreds of dogs are walked in public places around the country every day and have come to no harm.”
For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/alabamarot