Alabama Rot Disease

You may have heard things about Alabama Rot but how much do you actually know? Alabama rot is on the rise in the UK and has been confirmed close to home in county Durham, but how big of a threat is it to your dog?

Alabama Rot was first identified amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama in the 1980s (hence the name). The mysterious disease presented with ulcer-like skin sores and/or sudden kidney failure in affected dogs. Unfortunately it is not yet fully understood what causes the disease, only that the clinical signs of dogs effected are relatively the same.

Since November 2012, a small number of dogs with similar clinical signs to what is described for Alabama Rot, have been reported across
the UK. Although the greatest number were seen in and around the New Forest region of Hampshire both confirmed and unconfirmed. By July 2014 a total of 44 cases had been confirmed across the UK. Alabama Rot is clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy or CRGV for short, which basically means an unknown cause that affects the skin (cutaneous) and the kidneys (renal).

The first signs of the disease are normally identified as skin lesions and sores that have not been caused by an injury. These sores are most commonly found around the legs and feet and appear as a distinctive swelling, open reddened and ulcerated skin, these usually develop within approximately 2-7 days. Once infected dogs can develop signs of sudden kidney failure. These signs include lethargy, vomiting, reduced hunger and in some in some cases abdominal pain.

As there is no known cause of Alabama rot (Scientists are still currently investigating the cause), there is no known way to prevent your dog from contracting the disease. It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas, therefore it has been suggested that owners should be washing their dogs feet, legs and underbelly straight after a walk. Unlike the Alabama rot that was presented in US Greyhounds, the disease in the UK does not follow a pattern therefore can affect any breed, age, sex or weight of the dog.

If your dog becomes infected with Alabama Rot or develops any of the clinical symptoms it is important to seek veterinary advice immediately. The best outcome in treating the disease is with early intensive veterinary care. Your vet will treat the skin sores and kidney failure through intensive care and hospitalisation which will include intravenous fluids to support the kidneys.

Although some infected dogs have successfully recovered after treatment, many do not, – it is estimated that treatment is only successful in around 20-30% of cases. The Percentage of dogs in the UK who have contracted the disease is very small however it is vital that you understand the problem and know what to look out for.

Our staff have been fully advised of the changes found in the UK and can help answer any questions you may have, If you are worried at all then please give the surgery a call on 01670457271.