A dog owner has been left heartbroken after his beloved pet died from a disease which is suspected to have killed five dogs in Dorset this year - including two in the past week.

Leigh Feltham had taken his eight and a half old Labrador Bonnie for a walk on the Moreton Forest area on Saturday,  - a week later she had to be put down due to a suspected case of Alabama Rot. 

It is believed five dogs have died from the disease this year according to Dorset Dogs CIC with two suspected to be contracted near the Dorchester area this week. 

The disease which is also known as as CRGV (cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy) and is fatal to dogs, targeting the blood vessels of the kidney and skin of dogs. 

It typically affects dog breeds such as Labradors, spaniels and vizslas, but it is believed that all breeds are at risk to the disease.

Although it has not been confirmed through post-mortem, Leigh shared how the symptoms showed clinical signs of the disease, namely kidney damage.

He also described the drastic change in his dog's behaviour in such a short space of time after walking around the Moreton Ford area.  

Bonnie had started limping on her paw which quickly became soreBonnie had started limping on her paw which quickly became sore (Image: Leigh Feltham)

“Bonnie was eight and a half and as fit as anything.

“About 36 hours after the walk, we noticed that she was a bit subdued and on Monday morning, Bonnie wouldn’t eat her food and I thought something doesn’t seem right

"She was struggling to get up and limping around like she’d hurt her paw. I looked around her paw and thought it was a bit sore in areas but there were no obvious cuts or ashes. She seemed really hot and was drooling out of mouth."

After visiting a local vets to get her examined she was put on antibiotics and given anti-inflammatory medication.

However, the dog's condition worsened becoming progressively lethargic with the whole arm of the hurt paw swelling up. 

Bonnie was eight and a half and described as a lively and happy dogBonnie was eight and a half and described as a lively and happy dog (Image: Leigh Feltham)

Leigh took Bonnie back to the vets where it was discovered the dog was in the early stages of kidney failure. 

He added: “We had to make the hard decision to put her to sleep at night as the kidney function was that far gone.

“It was very heart-breaking and I felt why did it have to happen to my poor dog, such a lovely, sweet dog.

"It’s such a cruel disease and I think it happens more often than we realise."

Earlier this year, concern was raised after two cases of the potentially deadly canine disease were confirmed by Castle Vets in the Dorchester area. 

READ MORE: Two Alabama Rot cases confirmed by vets near Dorchester

After reading a post on Facebook, Leigh discovered another dog had died suspectedly from the disease in the same week which had also been taken for a walk in the Moreton area.

He subsequently believes the dog likely contracted Alabama Rot there. 

"It’s only through people creating Facebook groups and sharing local knowledge that people are becoming more alert to it.

"It was too much of a coincidence that the other person was there roughly the same time and both our dogs have died in a short space of time.

Bonnie's paw had become saw after playing in Moreton FordBonnie's paw had become saw after playing in Moreton Ford (Image: Leigh Feltham)

“I think this is more widespread that people realise. There should be some visual prevention tips or even alerts that there are suspected cases in the area as the prognosis is pretty dire.”

Despite being aware of the social media posts about suspected Alabama Rot cases. Castle Vets in Dorchester has said the condition remains rare and is not aware of any increased local risks. 

Giles Broadhead, vet and director at the clinic, said: "While there have been some cases in Dorset in the last few months this remains a very rare disease and there are other (more common) causes of similar symptoms.

"The cause of CRGV remain elusive so the only sensible advice that can be given is seek veterinary attention for your dog if you have any concerns.

"CRGV has been seen in every county in the UK so I am not aware of any particularly increased risk locally.

"But be reassured that all vets are super vigilant for these reports, many of us being dog owners who walk them in similar areas to where recent suspected cases have been."

An RSPCA spokesperson added: “We are concerned to hear about cases of Alabama Rot in Dorset. The cause of the disease - also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) - is unknown and little is known about the mysterious condition. 

“It is also very difficult to give advice about how to avoid it. It is sensible to wash off mud after a muddy walk, especially in woodland, but at this stage it is not known if this is necessary or helpful.

“If dog owners are concerned their pet may be affected by this condition we would urge them to contact their vet immediately for advice.

“Dogs can display skin lesions that often look like open sores or ulcers- particularly on the legs- and signs of acute kidney injury can develop including drinking more, vomiting and lethargy.

“If dog owners are concerned their pet may be affected by this condition we would urge them to contact their vet immediately for advice.”

Moreton Walled garden has posted a notice to dog owners on its website.

It states: "We have been made aware that two cases of Alabama Rot, a disease that affects dogs, are suspected to have been traced to the local forest area.

"Alabama Rot is believed to be spread in damp and muddy conditions, and sadly two dogs who visited the forest over the 1st-2nd June contracted the illness and have unfortunately passed away

"This is of course upsetting news, our sympathies are with the owners of the dogs, and we wanted to share this important update with other local dog owners so you are all able to remain vigilant in keeping an eye out for any symptoms with your own dogs if you have been in the area, and easily access the advice being provided here.

"If you are planning on visiting the forest with your dogs soon, please consider washing your dogs after their walk, especially their paws and lower legs.

"There have not been any confirmed cases at The Walled Garden. We held our Dog Show this past Sunday 9th June, and many of you came by for a brilliant day, which we are thankful for. If you visited the forest on the same day, please consider checking your dog for any symptoms. We were not aware of any cases before the event."