A FAMILY from Herefordshire believe that their pet dog has survived a case of a flesh-eating disease.

The Wolf family from Bailey Lane End near Ross-on-Wye want to raise awareness of Alabama rot, which has caused many dog owners to lose their pets.

Rollo, a lovable seven-year-old Leonberger, contracted a suspected case of Alabama rot earlier this year.

His owner Andrea Wolf said: "Rollo got quieter and stopped eating. We went through the usual procedures to reduce his temperature and knock whatever it was on the head. He didn't improve and went downhill."

After suspicious lesions were spotted on Rollo, he began to decline, and the family took him to the vet.

The death rate for dogs infected with Alabama rot is over 90 per cent.

When the family went to visit him at the veterinary hospital, he would not lift his head or wag his tail, which they said was unusual for him.

The vet suggested he could be moved to Anderson-Moores Veterinary Centre in Winchester which is researching into causes of the disease. But the family declined because they didn't want him to die without them being able to say goodbye to him.

They made plans for him to be euthanised the following morning if his symptoms did not improve overnight.

But then, almost miraculously, he began to recover. His blood test results got better, he regained enough strength to go for walks again, and he's still improving now.

"The lesions are slow to heal but he has his bounce back. How he did it we'll never know," said Ms Wolf.

Ms Wolf explained that Rollo has an underlying heart condition, and was given a life expectancy of just five years when he was diagnosed as a puppy.

"We have always lived with the fear that should anything bad happen to him his heart would probably not be able to cope, so how his heart coped with it all is amazing. We have our miracle dog back who against the odds beat this horrible disease."

A definite diagnosis of Alabama rot can only be made in post-mortem, but the Wolf family and their vet believe that the condition was the cause of his symptoms.

The case is not the first to be reported in Herefordshire, while more than 300 cases have been reported across the UK since 2012. This map shows the locations of Alabama rot cases.


Rollo is at the heart and soul of the Wolf family.

"We have had him from a pup at 12 weeks. We went to collect him from his breeder in Middlesbrough and immediately we knew he was a special boy.

"He's spent his time with us joining us on holidays walking miles along beaches and over mountains. His favourite pastime though is to sit guarding the gate at home and to watch the world go by."

The family are now hoping for many more years with their beloved Leonberger after his near escape from the usually-fatal disease.