Since the autumn of 2013 Dorset Dogs members keeping in touch through www.facebook.com/dorsetdogs have been discussing the mystery illness. Unfortunately cases are still occurring, some of which have been in Dorset and surrounding areas. It is however still very rare - vet advice I've been given was that making sure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date for parvovirus for example is far more significant.
News of 'alabama rot' has been reported on regional and national news. Vet advice is that if you have been walking in the affected areas and notice a wound or lesion on your pet you should take them to your vet as soon as possible.
In relation to the number of dogs out walking the number of cases is very low indeed and there are cases scattered across places where many dogs walk with no ill-effects. It is still not clear how the illness is transmitted.
Continuing updates available at:
The Forestry Commission are posting information and updates on their website at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/alabamarot and have links to further vet advice and information.