Alabama rot, which kills by attacking blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, has been common in the USA since the 1980s.
But the hideous illness has crossed the Atlantic and appears to be taking hold.
In the USA the disease is linked to greyhounds but the strain found in Britain has attacked 15 different breeds and mongrels – none was a greyhound.
So far more than 100 dogs suffering from Alabama Rot have been reported by vets.
It is believed thousands more animals may be suffering but have so far not been taken for treatment.
Pet owners are being warned to look out for lesions on their dogs' legs as vets continue to search for the cause of the disease.
The results of an investigation into the outbreak, published in the journal Veterinary Record, reveal the full horror of the disease.
Although the initial cases were reported in Hampshire, incidents have since been confirmed across England and Wales, from Somerset in the South West to County Durham in the North East.
Hampshire vet David Walker who led the research said: “The main message is that we are still seeing cases spring up.
“Continued vigilance is the best thing. People should look out for skin lesions when the dog hasn't obviously been cut on something.
“We don't know whether this is a condition that has been in the UK for a while, but just was unrecognised, or whether it had recently emerged.”