A MILFORD Haven vets has given advice to dog owners concerned about the spread of Alabama Rot.

The fatal disease first appeared in the UK six years ago and has claimed the lives of dozens of dogs since then.

The illness has been behind 29 or more deaths already in 2018, bringing the total since 2012 to 135.

Vets have warned pet owners to be vigilant as the new cases mean the number of deaths will have already doubled so far this year.

A spokesperson for the  All Pets Vet Care veterinary surgery said: “It is quite a rare disease at the moment but people just need to be vigilant.

“It is not necessary for owners and their dogs to avoid any walks, but washing paws off after going for walks in wooded areas is good practice.

“You should be checking your dogs over for any unexplained wounds.

“Staying out of muddy areas or wet areas is also a good idea.”

The spokesperson added that if owners are worried their dogs are exhibiting symptoms of the disease, they should contact a vet sooner rather than later for peace of mind.

Alabama Rot is also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Symptoms include skin lesions to the lower limbs following a recent walk.

These may seem insignificant to start with, but within 24 to 48 hours dogs develop vomiting, a lack of appetite or lethargy due to acute kidney damage.

The group ‘Alabama Rot UK Help CRGV’ can be found on Facebook.

It was set up to warn dog owners across the United Kingdom via word of mouth as possible cases of the disease are found in their area.

A possible case of Alabama Rot was identified by vets in St Clears earlier this month.

No case can be confirmed for definite until an autopsy is carried out on a dog.

Visit Vets4Pets website for more information.