A DOG that miraculously survived a deadly toxin is making progress, his owner says.
Poor Tally, a four-year-old Staffie, is still quite weak after coming into contact with the mystery substance, which has killed at least a dozen dogs in the forest.
But he is “getting stronger every day”.
Initial signs of the toxin are a sore paw or leg, which Tally suffered after being walked at Tiptoe.
Other dogs have gone on to suffer kidney failure, with pets dying or having to be put down quickly after becoming affected, many after walking around the Fordingbridge and Burley areas. The poison killed many dogs last year around this time, but after March it went quiet, as vets breathed a sigh of relief.
But a new case presented itself at Anderson Moores specialist vets in Winchester two weeks ago and the dog, which had been walked at the Wilverley Inclosure near Burley, had to be put to sleep.
But Tally has battled through, despite vets warning his owner Jerry Davies he might not make it.
Mr Davies said: “After ten days he started eating again, which was when he turned the corner.
“He was very fit and had the stamina to fight it off, which is probably why he survived.
“Tally is much more subdued than he used to be and doesn’t have as much energy.
“But he’s getting stronger all the time.”
Many of the dogs who died last year were young and strong, however. One was a sleddog and was only visiting the forest for a sporting event.
Mr Davies, 50, added: “I wasn’t aware it (the toxin) was still an issue.
“Tally became ill after going for a walk near Marley Mount.
“He developed a mark on his paw followed by lesions on his legs, stomach and face.
“He also went off his food.”
The dog was taken to Anderson Moores, the Winchester practice that has treated many of the other poisoned pets and sent the blood from infected animals to experts in the States.
New Forest District Council is also trying to identify the toxin.
A spokesman said: “While we’re aware that previous cases occurred at a similar time last year the underlying cause remains unknown.”