The recent news about Alabama rot has been sweeping the nation so we wanted to give you the facts about what it is and how you can protect your pet from catching this dangerous, deadly disease.
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama rot, which is also known as CRGV, is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels on the skin and the kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which ultimately blocks them. This can then lead to legions on the skin which can be mistaken for stings, bites or sores, and kidney failure. The disease was first discovered in the US in greyhounds in the 1980's but can affect all breeds, and ages, of dogs. There have been many confirmed cases across the UK this year. The exact cause for the condition is yet to be determined.
Symptoms you should look out for
The first sign to look out for are skin sores that may look like bites or stings and haven't been caused by any kind of trauma - we know some dogs can bolt around and occasionally get minor scratches. The sores may present as a slight redness or as an obvious ulcer, that are usually found on the legs, tummy and sometimes the face.
After 2 to 7 days the disease will start to attack the kidney. You will notice symptoms such as loss of appetite, fatigue and vomiting, these are signs of kidney failure.
How can I prevent my dog getting Alabama Rot?
It's thought that Alabama rot has some seasonal fluctuation from around November to June and is found in muddy, woodland areas. There is no confirmed way of preventing your dog getting the disease but dog owners are being advised to avoid muddy areas, keep track of where their dog is exploring on each walk and make sure dogs are washed as soon as possible after a muddy walk.
What to do and treatment for Alabama rot
If you are concerned your dog has caught the disease it's always best to get it checked out at the vet as soon as possible, the quicker you get it diagnosed the better the chance your dog has of making a full recovery. If you have noticed any of the symptoms above then this will help the vet with their investigation. The vet will usually test for signs of kidney failure if it's believed to be Alabama Rot.
Although only 20-30% of cases have survived the disease it's important to remember the number of cases in the UK is very small. The most important part of ensuring your dogs safety is knowing what it is, what to look out for and how essential time is when it comes to diagnosing the disease in order to give your dog the best chance at a full recovery.