"Killer Dog Disease" in the New Forest
We are currently receiving a significant number of calls from anxious owners following media reports referring to an apparently new disease prevalent in the New Forest and surrounding areas which has resulted in the death of a number of dogs.
Currently, no one knows exactly what the cause of this new disease is, although there is a suspicion that it may be due to a toxin released by a bacteria called E coli in the soil. The thought is that the recent widespread flooding has resulted in the toxin being washed out of the soil and somehow gets into dog's legs when they exercise in the New Forest and similar areas.
The current recommendation is that if you have dogs which develop unexplained, strange, inflamed, sores, especially on the legs and/or they appear unwell, then you should see a vet immediately. With early recognition and treatment, a number of dogs have made recoveries.
There have been cases reports which do not appear to have any links to the New Forest, so we currently recommend that you should check your dogs over daily for any sign of skin lesions. If they develop skin sores on the legs, we recommend bringing them in as soon as possible for an examination and possible blood tests, especially if they are off their food or appear sick.
We would also strongly recommend that dogs with any form of skin lesions on their legs are not exercised in areas where the sores may become wet.
We hope this information helps and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide further updates when available.