Alabama Rot in the UK

Alabama rot (cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy) is an increasingly common disease in dogs which causes damage to the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys. Dogs with the disease can suffer from skin ulcers, acute kidney failure and even death.

The good news is this is a very rare potentially life-threatening disease.  Figues for the disease suggest there have been approx 150 cases since 2012.

There is a wealth of information on Alabama Rot or CRGV (Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy).  Despite the information available there is still very little known about the disease.

Given the lack of clarity surrounding Alabama Rot should you take it seriously?

The signs for your dog contracting the disease are as follows according to the Kennel Club.  Note of warning!  These signs can be for any one of a multiple of other reasons!

Marks, sores or ulcers on the skin
Skin ulcers usually appear on the legs or paws, but could appear anywhere on the body, including the head, tummy, around the mouth and nose, or on the tongue. These marks may appear as an area of redness or could look like a cut, bruise, sting or open sore. These signs could be caused by a large number of different things, but in a small number of cases this could be the first signs of Alabama rot. Always speak to your vet if your dog unexpectedly develops any of these signs.

  • Kidney failure
  • Being off their food.
  • A change in drinking.
  • Being sick.
  • Not weeing as much.
  • Being tired.

Signs of kidney failure usually appears around three days after the marks on the skin, but can appear more quickly, or may sometimes take up to ten days. Signs that there are problems with the kidneys include:

If you’re concerned that your dog might have Alabama Rot it’s very important that you speak to your vet as soon as possible.

Given the above signs are vague at best. You may want to read the entire article for peace of mind!  make your own conclusions about Alabama rot.

In particular How is Alabama rot diagnosed? And, how at risk your dog is at catching Alabama rot the UK.

“Possible signs of Alabama rot may be concerning, but it’s important to remember that the disease is rare and that marks on the skin combined with kidney failure may be caused by a number of other things.”

There are a wide variety of conditions can result in erosions or ulcers of the skin. Eg, common causes are burns, trauma, and skin infections, as well as more complicated conditions, such as drug reactions, certain types of cancers, and autoimmune diseases of the skin.

Alabama Rot is something that catches the imagination! It generates fear for a dog owner. Statistically your dog has more chances of winning the lottery than catching Alabama Rot. However, the more serious point is not to ignore symptoms of skin deseases!

If you notice a lesion on your dog’s skin, call your vet and they will advise. If your dog needs an examination your vet will know best. If you have a dog diary for food provide this information too. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to certain food types. Make a list of your dog’s recent activity, places you may have visited and any changes in behaviours.

How is Alabama dog rot spread?

There has been some speculation that walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside may be a contributing factor, but the Forestry Commission has yet to warn of any specific sites being dangerous. They reassure dog owners that many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.

How do I prevent my dog from contracting Alabama rot?

There are no specific steps you can take to prevent your dog from contracting the disease, but there is some evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with most cases appearing between November and June.As the cause is not known, it’s difficult to provide advice on how to prevent dogs from catching it. The only prevention advice available is to wash your pet if they become wet and muddy on a walk, although this is based on common sense rather than science.

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