With Alabama Rot featuring heavily in the news of late, let’s answer the questions we’ve all been asking.
What is it?
Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy, or Alabama Rot, is a serious disease with a 90% mortality rate in dogs. It is characterised by painful skin lesions and organ failure.
When was it first identified?
Alabama Rot was first discovered in the 1980s amongst a group of greyhounds. This was in Alabama, USA. The first confirmed cases in the UK were in 2012.
How many UK dogs have been affected?
Figures vary between sources, but there have been approximately 98 confirmed cases in the UK, 22 unconfirmed and 35 suspected.
How is the disease spread?
Although there is no definitive evidence, it is now believed that Alabama Rot is spread through the environment – potentially water – and is ingested orally.
Whose dogs are at risk?
The disease affects all dogs, regardless of breed, age or size. There is some speculation that walking in muddy, woodland areas puts your dog more at risk, but there is nothing conclusive to support this.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms will show on the skin as lesions, sores or areas of red, inflamed skin. You may notice these on the legs first, although they can be found anywhere on the body, including the stomach, face and tongue.
After a couple of days, symptoms indicative of kidney failure will be evident, including severe fatigue, vomiting and loss of appetite.
What can you do to protect your dog?
Unfortunately, until a cause is found, knowing how to prevent the disease remains a mystery. If the trigger is environmental, then it makes sense to clean your dog thoroughly when you return from a muddy walk. Use shampoo or warm soapy water to thoroughly wash down the legs and body.
Keep an eye on any unusual or suspicious skin lesions or inflamed areas and get them looked at by a vet straight away.
Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts on this discussion.
Written by: Hannah Dyball