So far the outbreaks of the disease – which has not yet been named – have been predominantly in the New Forest, and while no cases are thought to have been reported in West Berkshire, vets locally are warning dog owners to be aware of tell-tale signs.
The initial symptoms include wounds, usually between one and four centimetres, on the dogs’ legs below the knee or elbow, which can appear in the form of red patches on the skin and fur loss or ulcers, according to clinical director at Falkland Vetinerary Clinic, Carl Gorman.
The wounds are caused by damaged blood vessels as opposed to injuries while walking in woodland.
Further tests have then founds problems with the dogs kidney’s, including acute kidney failure which can be fatal.
Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester, which has treated eight dogs with the disease since December 2012, is investigating the issue.
Three of the dogs it has treated have survived and the remaining five had to be euthanased due to the severity of the disease.
Two of the dogs in the most recent cases, reported in the past month, had been walked in the Tiptoe area and Wilverley inclosure in the New Forest.
A statement released by the surgery said it was aware of eight other cases, two others from the New Forest and six from other parts of the UK.
The cases also seem to be occurring between December and March.
Falkland vet Dr Gorman said: “Although we don’t know what the cause of the disease is, the mechanisms of the problem have been identified.
“Clients may feel it is prudent to have their dogs checked if they do find similar lesions, and it would be sensible for blood tests to be carried out at an earlier stage than would be normal with skin wounds.”
The Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists is regularly updating its website on the issue.
For more information, visit www.andersonmoores.com/vet/news/