Can I insure my dog against Alabama rot? | TeamDogs

Can I insure my dog against Alabama rot?

The disease arrived in the UK in 2012

Bethan Shufflebotham

Posted 7 months ago ago

Alabama Rot is a rare but particularly dangerous disease for dogs - 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. Little is known about the cause, and given its rarity a lot of dog owners are unsure as to whether or not their insurance will cover it. 

CRGV (the acronym for Alabama Rot’s medical name, Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy) first appeared in Alabama in the 1980s, but didn’t arrive in the UK until 2012. Very little is known about what causes Alabama Rot - which differing suggestions that it might be the result of a parasite, a bacteria, or another unknown factor. It’s thought that the disease is most commonly contracted and spread by the legs and feet of dogs, and that it is most frequently contracted during walks. 

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 Alabama Rot usually turning out to be fatal. 

Given the rarity of Alabama Rot, an insurance policy that explicitly names it may be uncommon - but this doesn’t mean it won’t be covered. Despite the severity, Alabama Rot is a sickness covered the way any other might be. So long as a dog contracts CRGV after the policy has begun, the costs of treatment will likely be covered by insurance - up to a certain amount. However, if someone is looking for certainty, it can never hurt to bring it up specifically with their provider. 

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