Dog owners received strong warnings after a cocker spaniel died of Alabama rot.
Rebecca Fox and her husband James were on vacation with their dogs in Delamere Forest, Cheshire in mid-May when they noticed their cocker spaniel Millie desperately licking her paw.
The Leicestershire couple decided to get an antiseptic spray after Millie also started limping and holding up her paw.
Millie became “very lethargic” but the couple attributed this to their pet’s fatigue.
Rebecca, 29, said CheshireLive They had visited beaches in North Wales but had mostly been to the Delamere Forest, adding, “It was a very wet week and the weather was terrible so it was very muddy all over the place. A lot of water, especially a lot of mud around the place where we were in the forest. ”
She continued, “We had been there for a week so we were all in the log cabin the next Friday and Millie frantically started licking her front paw.
“So we thought it had gotten infected a bit, she limped and held it up at this point as well. It came really suddenly.
“On Saturday we went to a Pets at Home nearby and got her an antiseptic spray.
“But of course we didn’t allow her to go for a walk because we didn’t want anything to come in.
“She was very lethargic until Sunday evening and we thought because we had other dogs and we were also on vacation, we thought she was a little tired.
“She was kind of a drama queen in general anyway, so all she possibly had wrong was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m dying.’
“So we didn’t think too much about it and come back home on Monday, May 24th, and she was very calm when she got home.”
Upon their return, the couple decided to take Millie to their local vet.
“We made an appointment with our local vets at 6pm that night because we were concerned about her paw infection as it was pussy and everything,” said Rebecca.
“At first they sent us away, said it was a paw infection, and gave us antiseptic bathing suits to put on her.
“She got sick on Tuesday afternoon and it went on and worsened all day.
“Then she couldn’t move much and couldn’t keep her limbs still.
“So we brought her back at midnight that Tuesday and she stayed with our local vets all night and they called us on Wednesday to tell us that her kidney counts went up dramatically, that she was basically failing.”
The couple decided to send Millie to see specialists in Solihull on that occasion, suspecting Millie Alabama had red – a disease that damages blood vessels in the skin and kidneys.
It causes blood clots that block blood vessels and can cause ulcers and severe organ dysfunction.
Symptoms include unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin, and vomiting, decreased appetite, and tiredness from kidney failure.
Unfortunately, Millie continued to deteriorate and the couple got the devastating phone call to say it would be best if they came in.
Rebecca said Millie was unable to move and was dying in front of them, adding, “Unfortunately, we had to do the friendliest thing and put her to sleep.
“She was only six years old, a happy active spaniel. It only took her seven days to find the paw and die.
“And she was a healthy and happy dog, and that’s why we want to raise awareness of this disease because dogs need it so quickly to get to their kidneys.”
A biopsy was taken from Millie, confirming that Alabama Red, formerly known as CRGV disease, was causing the six-year-old’s kidney failure.
The couple has now settled in JustGiving page to raise money for research into the deadly disease as they warned dog owners to see the veterinarian immediately if they discover any unexplained wounds.
“We want to help others see the signs,” said Rebecca.
“The disease isn’t researched very well at the moment, unfortunately they don’t have much about it at the moment.
“We don’t want people to go through what we’ve been through.”
A Forestry Holidays spokesman said: “We are aware that the dog died while recently staying at a Forest Holidays cabin in Delamere Forest.
“We are really sad to hear from every dog that suffers from or dies from Alabama Red, especially if a forest is one of the places they have recently visited.
“The cause of this disease and where it comes from is currently unknown, so no one can say if one place is less risky than another.
“The best source of information about the disease for pet owners are veterinarians Anderson Moores and we share this through our website and Forest Holidays to ensure this information is available to visitors.
“Anderson Moores is currently not advising dog owners to avoid a specific location.
“Although an environmental cause for this disease is believed to be possible, it has not yet been proven by tests.
“We advise any dog owner who is concerned about their pet’s health to see a veterinarian, and fortunately, while Alabama putrefaction can be serious, the number of dogs affected by skin lesions and kidney failure remains small.”