Vets have confirmed that a second dog has died after contracting a lethal disease which has struck in Sussex.
An outbreak of deadly Alabama Rot was first confirmed in Southwater, near Horsham, three weeks ago.
A second dog fell ill a week later and had to be put down. Now tests have revealed that the dog - a five year old Weimaraner called Mitzee - had also contracted the disease.
Both pets had been walking on the Downs Link near West Grinstead before they became ill.
Mitzee’s death brings the total of new deaths this year from Alabama Rot - also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy or CRGV - to 23.
Veterinary specialists Anderson Moores say Mitzee’s death is one of five new confirmed cases. Others have been in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire.
Spokesman David Walker said: “Further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners; however, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.
“While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, any concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/ for advice and a map of confirmed cases.”
Meanwhile, Mitzee’s heartbroken owner Craig Nicholls, who had to make the agonizing decision to have Mitzee put to sleep, said: “Tests confirmed that Mitzee did have Alabama Rot. At least we know now there was nothing we could have done for her.”
Meanwhile, he and his family are relieved to have been told that their other dog, Storm, has been tested and is free of the disease.
“We’re ecstatic about that,” said Craig. “She’s been very spoilt.”