Posted 6 months ago ago
With the sad news that a dog in Herefordshire has died after contracting this terrible disease, we're looking at what Alabama Rot actually is, why it's so dangerous and how you can help prevent your pet from catching it.
Alabama Rot is a rare but particularly dangerous disease with a low number of cases in the UK, but a very high level of risk if contracted. The condition involves the clotting of blood cells in the skin and kidneys, which damages them and leads to serious knock-on effects.
CRGV (that's Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy - to give the condition its proper name) first appeared - surprise, surprise - in Alabama in the 1980s. It didn’t arrive in the UK until 2012.
Very little is known about what causes Alabama Rot - with differing opinions that it might be the result of a parasite or a bacteria. There are suggestions that it is spread predominantly in woods or muddy areas, with most cases reported between November and June.
It’s thought that the disease is most commonly contracted and spread by the legs and feet.
The first signs of Alabama Rot tend to be the development of lesions and sores on the legs and feet of a dog - though these can also appear on the lower body and mouth. A dog owner might also notice vomiting, tiredness, and a lack of appetite. Within a few days, the symptoms progress to kidney failure, at which point the prognosis is usually very bad. If caught early, the skin lesions can be treated and the dog can be supported during kidney failure - with some dogs eventually managing to fight it off. However, this comprises a very small number of cases - with a grim survival rate of around 20 to 30 per cent.
So, what can we do to protect our dog against it?
As little is known about the disease, prevention tips are limited. If you are walking in the woods or muddy areas it's a good idea to clean your dogs paws as soon as possible if they do get dirty.