DOG owners are being urged to remain vigilant in case a disease which killed several pets in the borough last year returns.
Vets are warning animal lovers should know the signs of Alabama Rot, which has now spread across the UK after first appearing in America.
The advice we are giving is if owners have any concerns about lesions they should get their dogs into the vets early to get them checked outLloyd Davies
The borough has not escaped with several animals contracting the horrific condition, which causes open, ulcer-like sores on dogs’ legs and also attacks the kidneys, in woodland near Leigh last year.
Vets confirmed there have been no cases of Alabama Rot so far this year but say owners who have any concerns about their pets should seek expert help straight away.
They also reassured owners the borough’s veterinary practices have learned from events last year, when at least two dogs died from Alabama Rot, and are much better prepared this time around.
Lloyd Davies from My Pets Vets in Leigh said: “We’re keeping a close eye on it and we are ready this year, we’re definitely better prepared. Last year it wasn’t even on our radar.
“There’s been one possible case in Manchester but that has not been confirmed, and I don’t think there’s been any cases in the New Forest which is where it started last year.
“The advice we are giving is if owners have any concerns about lesions they should get their dogs into the vets early to get them checked out.
“However, we don’t want people to be too worried about it. It’s a horrible disease but parvo is still a bigger killer.”
The first sign of Alabama Rot is usually a skin sore which is not caused by a known injury and appears as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or an open ulcer.
Last year’s outbreak was concentrated around Lilford Woods and several other patches of woodland nearby.
The cause of the illness remains mysterious and experts have been baffled as Alabama Rot, which only affected greyhounds in America, has attacked dogs of many different ages, sizes and breeds in the UK.
A total of 46 cases have been confirmed in England since December 2013, a rise of 460 per cent on the period between November 2012 and November 2013, and research into the UK outbreak is currently being carried out by the Animal Health Trust and Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
To see a guide to the disease for owners, including the locations of confirmed cases, visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot