A NEW outbreak of a dreaded skin disease which kills dogs by eating their flesh has been reported.

One new case of the lethal Alabama Rot disease has been reported in Southwater, west Sussex.

Hundreds of canines have been killed by the vicious skin condition since it spread to the UK from the US seven years ago.

One of the key symptoms is lesions which can affect the lower limbs, mouth and tongue.

With an estimated nine million dogs in the UK, vets are urging pet owners to watch out for signs of the disease.

The total confirmed cases this year is now 17.

The highest number of confirmed cases have been in Greater Manchester, Dorset, Devon and Hampshire’s New Forest. Vets4Pets said that treatment is only successful in 20 per cent of cases.

Dr Ian Hopkins, a vet, said: "The best advice is to continue enjoying exercising your dog but always be mindful of certain symptoms which may indicate a nasty disease such as Alabama Rot.

“These can include lethargy, vomiting and maybe your dog is drinking more than usual.

“With Alabama Rot, the dog will often have skin lesions or ulcers – in the mouth, on the tongue and lower limbs including feet are common place.

“However, the lesions are not always present and in the case we have just dealt with, there were no sign of any lesions at all.

“It affects all types of dogs of all ages which therefore makes it a matter of concern for all dog owners.”