Alabama Rot – What you need to know

There have been several newspaper reports over the last few weeks about Alabama Rot. Some articles have been overblown and sensationalised and others have been more realistic and informative.  We thought we would put out a blog so you are aware of the illness and what to look out for. You will also be able to share this information with other dog owners so they can be fully informed.

Alabama Rot was originally only seen in the US during the 80s and it was only seemed to affect Greyhounds. However, as time went on the problem affected other breeds. The first confirmed cases were seen in the UK in 2012 and there were reports of an outbreak in England 2014 as there were many cases that showed similar symptoms.

What is Alabama Rot

Alabama Rot (also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)) is a condition that is often fatal in dogs. 

The symptoms start with distinct swelling and skin lesions on the ankles and lower legs, although there are cases where lesions have been seen on the face, chest and abdomen.  You should keep an eye out for red patches appearing or a skin defect that looks like an ulcer.  The size could be anything from 0.5cm to 5cm in diameter.

The illness is fairly fast acting so once lesions start to appear within 1-9 days clinical signs of kidney failure will appear. The symptoms of this can include tiredness, lack of appetite and vomiting. If the problem isn’t picked up early enough there is a high probability the dog will die.

Currently there is no concrete evidence on how Alabama Rot is contracted and there is no real vaccine or cure for it. However, if it is picked up early enough the dog has a better chance of survival.

We must point out that the number of cases in the UK are very small (less than 50) and we haven’t seen any similar cases here at Cherrydown.  If you do notice any of the symptoms above (lesions, tiredness, reduced appetite and vomiting) there is a good chance the problem is related to something else. However, it is important you bring your dog for a vet check to ensure the right treatment is given at the earliest opportunity as this will reduce or stop further issues later on.

As always, if you have any concerns or queries about this subject you can call us at the clinic, email us at practicemanager@cherrydownvets.co.uk or you can leave a comment on our Facebook page.