Dog owners are being warned of the dangers of Alabama Rot - and issued with advice on spotting the symptoms of the disease.
There have been 10 cases around the UK in recent months, and in the past few years a number of unexpected dog deaths have been linked to the illness - with test results and symptoms similar to those reported in dogs with Alabama Rot.
In response, Durham County Council has issued the following advice to owners who may be concerned about the issue:
:: If your dog has been in a wet or muddy area, make sure you wash them with anti-bacterial shampoo.
:: Look out for any unexplained skin lesions or sores on the limbs or face of your dog. Lesions can vary in size from that of a 5p to a 50p coin.
:: Seek advice from your vet immediately if you think your pet may have been affected by Alabama Rot.
Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Despite various tests being carried out nationally, the exact cause of the disease is unknown and, as such, there is no known way of preventing dogs from contracting the disease.
“We are, therefore, advising people to be aware of the symptoms and to seek advice from their vet as soon as possible if they are concerned about their pet."