A deadly dog disease is spreading to Derry and the rest of the North of Ireland according to experts.
The cause of Alabama Rot is unknown and a total of 78 dogs have been confirmed with the disease since 2012, with 14 in the first four months of 2016.
Dog owners in Derry and throughout the North are being urged to take extra precautions when out walking their pets this summer and beyond, to help combat the deadly disease.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has been found in at least 27 counties in England and Wales since 2012, with 78 cases confirmed in the UK and 14 being already identified in 2016 alone.
The North of Ireland and Scotland are thought highly likely to have also had cases recently, but both remain unconfirmed.
Now vets are working together, to increase awareness and help find the causes, including Alabama Rot experts Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and Vets4Pets.
“The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said David Walker, from Anderson Moores.
“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.
“Any concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/.”