A dog lover has completed a mammoth 115-mile trek to mark the anniversary of his pet’s death at a Winchester vet and to raise awareness of Alabama Rot.

Danny Watts, braved wind, rain, hail and sleet at the weekend to complete the epic run and walk in memory of his four-year-old Red Fox Labrador Rocco, who died last January after contracting cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), more commonly known as Alabama Rot.

The feat of endurance took Danny 35 hours to complete and his original 110-mile route was extended due to the adverse weather which turned fields into mud baths and forced the personal trainer to take a more circuitous route.

After setting off on Friday morning (January 7), Danny and his support team arrived at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester – replicating the final journey Rocco made a year earlier – at almost 8pm on Saturday (January 8).

Danny said: “It was a real challenge, made even tougher by the weather, which threw everything at us. We had planned everything incredibly well but the one thing you can’t control is the weather!

“I was feeling good and the first marathon distance went with no problems. Then around halfway through the second marathon distance the heavens opened and I was having to change my clothes every couple of hours and was knee-deep in mud in places.

“That obviously brought a lot of challenges and slowed me down incredibly. It then became less about finishing in a certain time and all about just making sure we finished.”

Despite issues brought about by the weather, Danny had chance to stop in the New Forest to take a moment’s reflection at the same time, a year ago to the day, he received the phone call from Anderson Moores informing him there was no more they could do for Rocco.

Danny, who has so far raised almost £2,500 for the Alabama Rot Research Fund, said: “I’m obviously really happy to raise so much money towards research into Alabama Rot but one of my main aims was to also raise awareness of the condition.

“I’m sure a lot of dog owners are like I was when Rocco was admitted to Anderson Moores, in that they have heard of Alabama Rot but not entirely sure what it is.

“It’s such a devasting disease that it’s really important to try to raise as much awareness as possible among dog owners and alert them to symptoms to look out for – especially at this time of year.

“Anderson Moores specialises in the disease and we were blown away by the information and knowledge they had.”

Alabama Rot, originally appeared in the late 1980s and was first detected in the UK in 2012. It affects the kidneys and has a 90 per cent mortality rate.

David Walker leads the team at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and is the UK’s foremost authority on the disease.

He said: “Massive congratulations to Danny for completing such an incredibly tough challenge in memory of Rocco. We were all delighted to see him arrive safely at the hospital after enduring such tough conditions throughout his journey.

“The money he has raised, along with the awareness among other dog owners, will be invaluable to tackling CRGV which, unfortunately, is fatal in the vast majority of dogs whose kidneys are affected.

“Early symptoms of CRGV, or Alabama Rot, include skin lesions or sores, typically below the knee or elbow, which are not wounds from an injury.

“The sores may show as a patch of red skin and/or a skin defect such as an ulcer. From then, affected dogs can develop signs of kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness.

“If a dog is suspected to be suffering from CRGV, the best chance of recovery probably lies with early and intensive management which may be best provided at a specialist facility.

“Treatment primarily revolves around intensive management of the sudden onset kidney failure but is sadly only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.”

Anderson Moores offers specialist care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, feline hyperthyroid clinic, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.

The animal hospital has a dedicated CRGV website, which includes a nationwide live map of cases. To find out more, visit www.alabama-rot.co.uk.

There is still time to sponsor Danny. Visit his GoFundMe page at: https://gofund.me/dcee0865.