DOG owners released a stomach-churning image of the flesh-eating bug threatening to kill dogs across the UK, The Sun reports.
Six-year-old Manchester terrier Bradley was walking with his owner near Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, when he contracted the deadly illness.
Alabama rot, also known as CRGV, is picked up the paws and legs of dogs on muddy walks. The disease eats away at the skin and flesh, and if not spotted early can lead to lethal kidney failure.
It originated in America, but was discovered in Britain three years ago and has claimed the lives of at least 61 UK pets.
Bradley’s vet confirmed that the black and tan pooch died from the disease, and warned dog owners to take care when walking their pets.
Chad Northcott, from Vetcare Ltd in Leigh, near Wigan, told Mail Online: “I would like to tell pet owners to keep walking their dogs but to be vigilant and consider keeping dogs on a lead and away from wooded, damp areas as they are the kind of areas this disease seems to be found.” 54-year-old Julie Rothwell, Bradley’s owner, had taken Bradley and her other dog for a walk in a popular spot near Squires Lane in Tyldesley, near Wigan.
Two days later she noticed that Bradley was in pain and thought he might have broken his leg.
But after lesions appeared on his skin and his flesh began to rot, the dog’s condition quickly worsened. Bradley had to be put down after the disease spread to his foot, and later to his kidneys.
Vet Northcott said he wants the are to be tested to find out more about the disease and its possible cures, but that any research project would require funding.
Ms Rothwell said she was devastated after Bradley’s passing, and said she had only walked her dogs in that area when the disease appeared.
She added that she was horrified at the sight of Bradley’s rotting leg, as the terrier had never been ill before. She also called for a proper investigation into the disease: “God forbid it was a child who got a disease but because it is a pet it is just being left.
“I had two dogs and one died and the other didn’t, my other dog Lily is deaf and is now lost without Bradley who acted like her ears.”
Alabama rot appears to be spreading across the UK, with at least 61 animals dead from the disease since it appeared three years ago.
A New Forest outbreak alone killed around 20 dogs in 2013. Karl Battersby, director for environment and economy at Wigan Council, said: “We are in communication with vets across the borough and nationally on issues such as this and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“Anyone with concerns should speak to their vet.”