A DEADLY toxin targeting dogs in the New Forest has struck two canines from the same family, killing one and leaving the other seriously ill.
A pair of whippets owned by Michael Lowe and his daughter Hayley were taken ill after being exercised at Holmsley – the same area where one of the other recent victims was affected.
Five-year-old Poppy was taken to the vets after she cut herself and suddenly lost her appetite.
She was put on a drip but suffered kidney failure, started vomiting blood and died three days later.
Four-year-old Ashley fell ill after being taken for a walk in the same area on the same day – but appears to be making a miraculous recovery.
However, the incident has struck fear into the hearts of the Lowe family, of Christchurch, Dorset.
Hayley said: “I’m too frightened to take my other dog anywhere. If I lost another dog I don’t know what I’d do.”
It comes just days after the Daily Echo revealed that Harley, a three-year-old collie-Labrador-Dalmation cross, became ill after cutting his leg – also at Holmsley.
Four days later he started being sick and died after suffering acute kidney failure. Harley was owned by Charlotte and Richard Gladman, of Walkford, near Christchurch, who have an 18-month-old son.
Vets suspect that the disease is a version of Alabama Rot, first seen in the United States in the 1980s and thought to be related to a toxin produced by E.coli.
It has killed almost 20 dogs across the UK, including at least 12 in the New Forest.
Many of the canines taken ill in the Forest have been treated by staff at Anderson Moores, a specialist veterinary practice based at Hursley, near Winchester.
An Anderson Moores spokesman urged dog owners to look out for skin lesions on their pet.
He added: “If your dog is affected, early recognition of the disease and aggressive management is likely to lead to the best outcome.
“Without knowing the trigger for the disease it is impossible to give specific advice about walking your dog.
“It’s important to stress that case numbers are very low and that this disease is not isolated to the New Forest.
“The disease does not appear to pass from dog to dog.”