A GROUP of Hampshire dog lovers have launched a campaign to stop more pets being killed by a mystery toxin in the New Forest.
New Forest Dog Owners Group (NFDOG) has started a fund with a £2,000 donation to help expert research.
It comes as another dog succumbed to the toxin which has claimed the lives of more than a dozen other canines since December 2012.
Heartbroken owner Tracy Graham lost her five-year-old dog Erin when she was put to sleep after suffering acute kidney failure.
But work is under way to find a cure, and research has been aided by New Forest District Council, the Forestry Commission, Bridge Pathology and Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, who are leading the investigation.
Interested scientists have also done a “large amount of work” on a goodwill basis.
Heather Gould, chairman of NFDOG, said: “We want to get this off the ground quickly and do something to show we care about the problem and the very worried dog owners, not just in the New Forest, but around a number of areas in England.”
Blood test The latest victim of the disease is flat-coated retriever Erin, who became ill following a walk at St Catherine’s Hill in Christchurch.
She was taken to a PDSA emergency vet, where a blood test showed no sign of problems. She was then taken to specialist vet Anderson Moores, of Hursley, near Winchester, suffering from acute kidney failure.
She was put down yesterday after being taken to London for dialysis.
Owner Tracy urged other pet owners to watch out for the symptoms.
“Look for sores on legs, feet or the face. If there are any, contact the vet straight away – it can mean life or death,” she said.
David Walker, head of medicine at Anderson Moores, said that the clinic was awaiting the results of pathology tests.
He added: “We are incredibly grateful to NFDOG for all they have been doing to raise awareness of this disease. This fund will greatly help us in trying to identify the underlying cause.”
Donations can be made online at newforestdog.org.uk or by sending a cheque payable to NFDOG Research Fund, to Hon Treasurer, Woodcote, Balmer Lawn Road, Brockenhurst, SO42 7TT.