A BARRY family has been left devastated after one of their much-loved dogs fell victim to a lethal disease.
Five-year-old springer spaniel, Rufus suffered for several days before his owners took the decision to have him put down as their vet diagnosed his condition as a suspected case of Alabama Rot for which there is no cure and the outcome is death.
Owner John Hartland believes the case is unique in that it is the first time a specific site of origin could potentially be identified as Chicken Wood, in Barry, which was the only place he had walked his three dogs.
Alabama Rot is characterised by skin and sometimes renal changes. Experts are yet to identify a definite cause, but it is believed muddy woodland areas could be a cause, with only very few dogs being afflicted.
Mr Hartland said on February 26, Rufus was unusually quiet.
The springer spaniel was covered in drool, his face swelled, his temperature increased dramatically, and he bled from his nostrils.
The vet at the Maes Glas veterinary surgery, in Salisbury Road, Barry, initially thought he had a traumatic injury and the next day, following a check-up, thought it could be an allergic reaction. But, having kept him in, they decided he needed to be in the care of their veterinary hospital in Bridgend.
The father of four said: “We had a call from the resident vet to say he was going downhill fast. They did not know what was happening; we would need to consider putting him down.