PET owners are being warned about an outbreak of a mystery illness in the area.

Several unconfirmed cases of a condition with similar symptoms to the deadly 'Alabama Rot' have been reported by people who walk their dogs in Leigh, Tyldesley and Atherton.

Gary Hallows wants to warn other dog owners after his cocker spaniel Sally began showing symptoms of the illness, which include kidney failure, vomiting and skin lesions.

Mr Hallows said: "My vet has said that Sally has similar symptoms to Alabama Rot although he can't confirm it is the disease as that can only be done post mortem, but he doesn't think she will survive."

The Tyldesley resident used to walk his two dogs around the Squires Lane area up until Sally, who is now in quarantine at The Animal Trust in Bolton, fell ill just over a week ago.

"I just can't believe that something like this is happening and nothing is being done about it," he said.

Rumours that the infection was transferred from the New Forest - where the first cases of Alabama Rot were reported in the UK in 2012 - by machinery being used during work on the new guided busway here have been refuted by contractors.

Balfour Beatty and the Forestry Commission told the Journal that they are not using any plant or equipment which has been used in the New Forest area recently.

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty added: "As a responsible contractor, we are constantly reviewing any environmental alerts from the authorities, but From front page none have been received in relation to Alabama Rot."

A Facebook page called 'Alabama Rot in Tyldesley' has been set up in a bid to warn pet owners about the illness, although the cause and details of how it spreads are unknown.

My Pets Vets, on Twist Lane in Leigh, has issued advice on its own Facebook page.

It reads: "We believe that we have seen four cases of this condition over the last few weeks, sadly only one of these dogs has survived.

"All four dogs had been walked in and around Lilford Woods, along with other wooded areas.

"We are awaiting test results which may provide further information."

Dog owners are being advised to get any skin lesions they find checked out by a vet.

Jonathon Hart, from Atherton Veterinary Centre, has seen one suspected case of the condition.

He said: "Reported cases seem to be concentrated in wooded areas so wash your dog down after a walk, get all the mud off and if you notice any skin lesions, get them checked out straight away.

"The number of dogs presenting with the condition are in the minority but unfortunately between 80 and 90 per cent of those that do get it will die."

Gareth Jones, from Tyldesley Veterinary Surgery, has seen three possible cases of the condition.

He said owners should keep an eye out for skin lesions but warned that not every wound or skin lesion would be a sign of the condition, and advised dog walkers to avoid construction sites.