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  • Alabama Rot – What All Dog Owners Need To Know

    Alabama Rot – What All Dog Owners Need To Know

    Although only affecting the minority of the canine population, Alabama Rot has become more well known across the UK. Whilst the number of cases is still fairly small, the condition sadly has a high mortality rate. In 2019, there were 29 confirmed deaths caused by Alabama Rot.

    What Is Alabama Rot?

    Alabama Rot is also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV). It is not breed specific and has affected a variety of dog breeds across the UK. Furthermore, the disease appears to affect all age groups and is not isolated to a specific location.

    It is believed that the condition seen in the UK is caused by a bacterium, which causes a build-up of toxins in an infected dogs system, similar to E. coli. Although an exact cause has not been identified, studies have found a connection between the disease and the walking of dogs in muddy or woodland areas.

    Based on previous years it is documented that a vast majority of confirmed cases happen between November and May, making late winter to spring the highest-risk time for our dogs.

    How Do I Keep My Dog Safe?

    It is important to note that cases of Alabama Rot are extremely rare. Out of the thousands of dogs who walk in potentially risky areas, only a tiny percentage catch the disease. However, due to the severity and high mortality rate of Alabama Rot, dog owners are urged to be aware of the symptoms and take any necessary precautions.

    There are a variety of symptoms that you should look out for and if in any doubt at all you should seek urgent veterinary advice. The earliest and most obvious symptoms to appear are lesions and ulcers on the paws, legs, body, mouth, or tongue of a dog.  If you notice any unusual sores on your dog’s body it is advised to seek veterinary help immediately.

    Within days the disease can then develop to cause acute kidney damage, vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, and many other symptoms.  

    It is theorised that Alabama Rot can infect a dog more effectively if the dog has any cuts or open wounds on their feet. This would make sense as it would allow the bacteria more direct access to the dog’s bloodstream. If your dog has any injuries, however minor, on their paws and legs, we would highly recommend avoiding walking where there is mud or any confirmed cases of Alabama Rot.

    Sadly, the survival rate for dogs with Alabama Rot is low, but it is not unknown for dogs to successfully recover from this disease with proper treatment.  The quicker your dog is diagnosed and treated for Alabama Rot, the higher their chances of survival are, so it is vital to check your dog regularly and be especially vigilant when walking in areas where cases of the disease have been confirmed.

    We also recommend storing your vet’s emergency contact details in your phone, just in case assistance is needed out of hours. Many emergency vet services will offer free advice over the phone, so don’t be afraid to contact them with any serious concerns.

    Our Top Preventative Tips

    There is no confirmed preventative measure for Alabama Rot, however, the following is recommended:

    • – Bathe your dog after a walk if they are muddy or wet, or, if they have been walking on muddy or wet ground. Take particular care to ensure you wash thoroughly between the pads of your dog’s paws.
    • – Consider using a suitably diluted animal-friendly antibacterial solution when washing your dog’s paws, legs and tummy (although there is no evidence that it will prevent the disease, it can be beneficial).
    • – Check for symptoms regularly (we would recommend checking your dog’s legs, paws and stomach at least once a day and contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns over your dog’s health.