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Good evening. My first post. I have come here hoping for any info / guidance or experience to help with my understanding of what happened. Sadly we have lost our 3 and half year old bitch to this appalling condition. We are bereft. We visited the Isle of Wight last week and having spent four days there, by the fifth day she had developed a slight limp. She was a black dog but she was seen by the vet at this stage and there were no lesions. This gradually escalated into a ballooned front paw twice the size which started to bleed. The vet removed a lot of the infection but could not find anything that was causing the infection. AFR was not mentioned then. By the time we were home in the next 48 hours arrangements were being made for an operation and state of the art imaging at an animal hospital.

We never made it there because the emergency vet at the weekend diagnosed that there were problems with her kidneys and that she was clearly not responding to antibiotics. We saw her for the last time on Sunday evening complete with a waggy tail. She was obviously very poorly. She had refused to eat for days and was normally obsessed with food.

The decline in her energy levels and well being was rapid and significant. She went from a bouncy dog jumping into water to a lethargic animal who did nothing but lie on the sofa. We still cannot believe how things have changed so quickly. We feel guilty and regret and think she has been cheated of her life. We miss our cherished friendship. I feel we have let her down. And now we only have memories and reminders.

Our lives have been turned upside down by such a devastating course of events. Since some of the info out there is vague about this condition, I cannot be sure that the Island is the guilty location. We live in Devon so it is possible she acquired something before we left but as I said there were no signs at all of it during those first 4 days.

I have read that the incubation period can be anything from hours to 14 days. We shall never be sure where she picked it and how. All I can say is that the consequences are horrific. My wife said that from research it was stated that approx fifteen times the number of dogs are killed in road accidents compared to AFR so she is a very unlucky dog.

I would be extremely grateful if anyone can offer any thoughts or comments. I know this condition affects all breeds. I wondered whether there were any aspects of a dog's make up which made them more susceptible to this condition. Should we have stopped her jumping into the river? Our minds are racing as you can imagine. Many thanks in anticipation.
 

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So sorry to read this. Yes info is very vague, but thats because so little is actually known. It's a very recent problem. Dont quote me on this because it's just my thoughts, but it almost appears like some form of fungus could be at the root of it. It tends to be prevalent more in the dark damp places, woodland rather than open fields. Autumn seems to be the most common time for it. Is it a coincidence that autumn is also the time when many fungi appear, even the humble mushroom! No, I'm not linking it to mushrooms, and I might be completely barking up the wrong tree even talking about fungi, but dogs are catching it from somewhere. It tends to affect paws, under belly or muzzle which suggests it's being picked up from the ground or something on the ground.

I very much doubt she picked it up in the river, in fact I doubt she even picked it up at that time! One of the suggestions is that we wash any mud off of our dogs as soon as possible as a precaution, and the river would have done just that. I also have never heard of any link to any other condition which could make some dogs more susceptible. I really feel that you have just been very unlucky.
 

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Really sorry to read about your girl. As John has already said, it seems to be associated with woodland areas and seems more prevalent at this time of year. I have a feeling, like John, that it may be linked to all the rotting material on the woodland floors in particular at this time of year.

The only dog I have known personally that succumbed to this condition was a flat coated retriever dog that I had my eye on to use as a stud dog, he'd been out picking up on a shoot and showed barely any symptoms, but within a couple of days went downhill very quickly. The only thing they could find was a slight scrape on one paw from memory.
 

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So sorry for your loss, I can understand how devastated you feel.
I too live in Devon and have heard of a couple local cases reported in the last 12 mths, one in Cullompton and another in the Budleigh area, it is worrying.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So sorry for your loss, I can understand how devastated you feel.
I too live in Devon and have heard of a couple local cases reported in the last 12 mths, one in Cullompton and another in the Budleigh area, it is worrying.
Thank you. We actually live in Budleigh. My wife thinks that case of which you speak was back in January. At the time we avoided the area we thought was associated with the outbreak. But it was all hearsay and I cannot confirm that the area in question was indeed the correct one we avoided. It is frustrating not knowing where it happened and if we ever decide to have another one, I shall be frightened of walking him / her in all kinds of areas.
 

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So sorry to read this. Yes info is very vague, but thats because so little is actually known. It's a very recent problem. Dont quote me on this because it's just my thoughts, but it almost appears like some form of fungus could be at the root of it. It tends to be prevalent more in the dark damp places, woodland rather than open fields. Autumn seems to be the most common time for it. Is it a coincidence that autumn is also the time when many fungi appear, even the humble mushroom! No, I'm not linking it to mushrooms, and I might be completely barking up the wrong tree even talking about fungi, but dogs are catching it from somewhere. It tends to affect paws, under belly or muzzle which suggests it's being picked up from the ground or something on the ground.

I very much doubt she picked it up in the river, in fact I doubt she even picked it up at that time! One of the suggestions is that we wash any mud off of our dogs as soon as possible as a precaution, and the river would have done just that. I also have never heard of any link to any other condition which could make some dogs more susceptible. I really feel that you have just been very unlucky.
I am very grateful for your thoughts and comments. When I feel strong enough, I am going to read everything I can find on this condition. We are currently continuing to walk our well known routes just for our own exercise and inevitably we have been spotted by familiar faces. (The kind of folk you recognise and speak to because they have a dog, but you don't know their name.) The shock and horror on their faces is upsetting. And of course they will be thinking it is possible the infection was picked up in Devon rather than the Isle of Wight and their dog is at risk also. Since these people know there was an outbreak in Budleigh earlier in the year, immediately one thinks it could have returned. We shall certainly make a point of washing paws in the future. I appreciate your support at this ghastly time.
 

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Really sorry to read about your girl. As John has already said, it seems to be associated with woodland areas and seems more prevalent at this time of year. I have a feeling, like John, that it may be linked to all the rotting material on the woodland floors in particular at this time of year.

The only dog I have known personally that succumbed to this condition was a flat coated retriever dog that I had my eye on to use as a stud dog, he'd been out picking up on a shoot and showed barely any symptoms, but within a couple of days went downhill very quickly. The only thing they could find was a slight scrape on one paw from memory.
Thank you for your comments and support it is appreciated. As I commented to John, I intend to devour anything I can find online about this condition. Our lab had been licking her paws regularly for the last month or so prior to her limp and the ballooned right paw. We put that down to an irritant in the long grass at the bottom of our garden. The vet in the past has recommended administering 1 antihistamine tablet which does seem to help. Our previous black lab suffered from itchiness which was put down to some kind of allergy so it is not uncommon apparently. The licking of the paws may well be a coincidence but she could have created a small opening by biting them. Dogs are so curious and she was so obsessed with food that she could easily have eaten some kind of rotting material which may be the culprit. We are still looking for answers and I am not sure we shall ever find them.
 
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