HE may not know it but four-year-old Tally is one of the lucky ones.

The Staffordshire bull terrier is among only a handful of dogs to have survived a brush with a mystery toxin that has killed at least 12 other dogs in the New Forest.

Tally was taken ill after being exercised near his Tiptoe home but miraculously pulled through.

As reported in the Daily Echo, another dog from the same part of the Forest died after being infected by the toxin, which causes acute kidney failure.

A similar outbreak began this time last year, although most of the cases occurred in the Fritham and Fordingbridge area.

Now Tally’s owner, planning consultant Jerry Davies, 50, has spoken out in the hope of alerting other dog owners to the potential new danger.

He said: “I wasn’t aware it was still an issue.

“Tally became ill after going for a walk near Marley Mount. He developed a mark on his paw followed by lesions on his legs, stomach and face. He also went off his food.”

The dog was taken to a veterinary hospital at Anderson Moores, the Winchester practice that has treated many of the other poisoned pets.

At one stage Mr Davies was warned that Tally might have to be put down unless his condition improved within 24 hours.

“After ten days he started eating again, which was when he turned the corner,” he said. “He was very fit and had the stamina to fight it off, which is probably why he survived.

“Tally is much more subdued than he used to be and doesn’t have as much energy. But he’s getting stronger all the time.”

New Forest District Council is one of the organisations that is trying to identify the toxin.

A spokesman said: “While we’re aware that previous cases occurred at a similar time last year the underlying cause remains unknown.”