What Is Alabama Rot

What Is Alabama Rot

It sounds like it should be happening only across the seas, but Alabama rot is a very real and very serious disease that can occur anywhere in the UK and affect any breed, leading to fatalities in 9 out of 10 dogs. As the name suggests, it originated in the USA in 1980 but has more recently been recognised in the UK. In between November 2012 and May 2015 alone, 56 dogs were confirmed as having Alabama Rot.

But what exactly is it?

Like any disease, prevention is better than cure but to be able to look at preventative methods means understanding the basics of what this disease actually is. Known to most as Alabama rot, it is also known from a medical perspective as 'Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy', or CRGV for short. It's not a discriminatory disease and can affect all breeds, sexes and ages of dog.

Technically speaking, Alabama rot is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidneys. It causes small blood clots to form in the blood vessels, blocking them over time before ultimately damaging the affected tissue.

It is believed to be caused by super-bug E. Coli and the name is a result of the fact that it can lead any affected dog to literally start festering and rot. And if that doesn't sound nasty enough already, read on to find out what can happen to affected pooches.

What are the Symptoms?

The initial symptoms are lesions and ulceration of the skin. These can also pop up in the mouth but are not always obvious to the owner as a symptom of this disease, due to the fact they can look like bites, sores or stings. If no injury is suspected, it's absolutely worth considering if Alabama rot is the offender. In addition to this, and within days of being infected, a poorly pooch can experience loss of appetite, bouts of vomiting and extreme tiredness. Worse still, when Alabama rot gets into the kidneys, severe organ dysfunction can occur, making the overall result kidney failure. This doesn't happen in every case but is a fairly common advancement.

How can it be avoided?

Frustratingly, there is no known cause of the disease. It is suspected that bacterial infections are to blame but it could be any number of things, which of course makes it even more challenging to help your pup out in the first instance.

The main thing any dog owner or sitter can do is to ensure the utmost in cleanliness at times when your four-legged friend has been out and about, particularly in wet, marshy and damp conditions. If their walkies has been through a particularly muddy woodland area, then prompt and thorough bathing could help.

Due to the lack of sufficient knowledge in the ability to prevent it, there is no vaccine at this present time. If you suspect your pal to be experiencing any of the associated symptoms, particularly excessive licking or gnawing at specific areas where ulcers or sores are present, without any known injury, take them to the vets straight away. It's a rare condition but persistence could be key in the fight against this damaging disease.

Alabama Rot - Things You Need To Know

Alabama Rot is a disease spreading like a wildfire across the UK. Unfortunately, almost all cases of the disease have resulted in fatalities. We all want to protect our furry babies and ensure they live a long life by our side, so while this epidemic is sweeping the UK, it's vital to learn about the disease to prevent it from affecting our precious pawed friends. Here are 8 things you need to know about Alabama Rot: let's keep our dogs safe:

Most cases are found in similar locations

Vets4Pets has been very proactive in spreading plenty of awareness of the disease, making it easier to take a stand against this ruthless condition. They released a of the confirmed cases within the UK, on the map you can see affected areas and take extra caution when going on your daily walks or holidays away with little Freddie. From a bird's eye view, the only area without any confirmed cases is East Anglia.

There is no known cause

Alabama rot has only recently been recognised, so research is still at early stages. Sadly, this means there is no sure way to protect our darlings as the cause is unknown. However, there seems to be a correlation with muddy areas in which it is suggested to give little Freddie a bath after a messy walk.

November to May is peak season

Although there is not enough evidence to prove that Alabama rot is a winter/spring disease, there are a higher number of cases between November to May. To be exact, of cases were during this time period. It's certainly worth keeping this in mind for the upcoming winter.

The Symptoms are spottable


Alabama rot has very distinct and . First signs are usually a very sore, red skin lesion or ulcer, if you notice this on little Freddie then get him to the vets asap as it could save his life. Usually, sores will be found around a dog's elbow or knee, if they have Alabama rot. After two days, the disease can cause symptoms of kidney failure.

Cuddles save lives

As much as there is no vaccine available and no sure way to protect little Freddie, noticing the signs early does make the difference between life and death, there have been survivors of Alabama rot when treated early. Checking the paws, joints and mouth for any changes, especially sores can be a lifesaver. Have a cuddle with Freddie and remember, if in doubt - call the vet.

Protect the paws

It is thought Alabama rot is caught from mud getting on the paws and legs. Again, there is no foolproof prevention as of yet but there is no harm in taking steps to protect Freddie's paws and being aware on route.

Alabama Rot Doesn't Discriminate

Any dog, but only dogs can fall victim to the disease, regardless of breed, age, shape or size. Like any responsible parent, don't assume that your baby is immune, be aware, be safe.

All Hope Is Not Lost

Alabama rot is an incredibly scary disease for any dog lover. There is nothing worse than the idea of our furry babies getting sick, they are family. But hope is not lost because the more awareness raised and the more research done, means that one day this notorious disease can be prevented.

Alabama Rot Spreads Across the UK

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets away from muddy areas as the deadly disease Alabama Rot appears to be spreading across the country. The condition proves fatal in 9 out of 10 dogs and leads to sudden kidney failure. The disease is more prevalent in England than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but there have been no reported cases in East Anglia. However, it is important to note that the symptoms are easily confused with other conditions and so there could have been many more cases than have actually been reported.

Flesh Eating Disease

Alabama Rot or cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is a flesh easting disease which causes lesions, often on the dogs' lower legs. These may be accompanied by vomiting, reduced hunger and fatigue. The infected dogs then suffer complete kidney failure. Most of the affected animals die within 7 days of the first symptoms manifesting themselves. Alabama Rot is believed to have originated in America among greyhounds in the 1980s.

Avoid Muddy Areas

It is now thought that Alabama Rot could be contracted through mud. Owners are recommended to walk their dogs on dry paths and to wash their legs should they get muddy. The condition can affect all breeds of dog and first appeared in the UK 6 years ago. 135 cases have been reported since 2012 and there have been 29 cases confirmed already this year. The recent spell of bad weather has left the ground in many regions waterlogged and so the situation could be about to get a whole lot worse.

Checking Your Dog

If your dog gets muddy it would certainly be worth washing them off as soon as you get home. Check for any lesions as you do this and head straight for the vet if you find anything suspicious. But try not to panic if your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms of Alabama Rot as none of them are unique to the disease and all are more likely to be caused by something else. 135 cases seems like a lot but it is important to remember that there are millions of dogs in the UK, all of which come into contact with mud from time to time.

Finding a Cure

The exact cause of the disease has not been found and so it has not been possible to develop a vaccine. Alabama rot in the UK has been the subject of a study at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester, Hampshire since 2013. Hopefully they will eventually unravel the mystery of this terrible condition and evolve more effective treatments or even a cure.

The deadly canine disease Alabama rot could be spreading across the UK as new cases have been discovered in Carlisle, Monmouthshire and Devon. The cause of the disease is unknown and vets are still searching for a cure.

Alabama rot is a deadly disease which initially affected greyhounds in America. The disease first appeared in the late 1980's. It is known clinically as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV). The first sign that a dog has contracted the disease is usually the appearance of a sore that has not be caused by an injury. The sores are most often found below the elbow or knee. They may be distinct swellings, patches of red skin or ulcer-like.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis

As the disease progresses, further sores appear and the affected dog eventually succumbs to kidney failure. The average time from the skin lesions appearing to signs of kidney failure is just three days but it can take up to 10 days for the kidneys to be affected. Treatment is supportive but, at best, only 30% of dogs survive the condition. The best outcomes tend to be the result of early diagnosis so owners should remain vigilant and seek veterinary advice as soon as they suspect a problem.

An Indiscriminate Disease

Whilst Alabama rot affected only greyhounds in America, it has claimed victims from a variety of breeds in the UK. It has been discovered in 27 counties since 2012. There have 81 cases reported since the disease first appeared in this country. There have been 17 cases in 2016. The disease does not seem to target any particular age or weight of dog. The condition can only be 100% confirmed via tests on a kidney from a suspected sufferer after their death.

Potential Causes

As yet the causes of the disease have not been identified and there is considerably debate about Alabama rot. Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists are working in conjunction with the Animal Health Trust to track cases and study the disease in order to identify the cause. Alabama rot does seem to be associated with muddy paws and legs following woodland walks.

There have been cases of associated dogs becoming infected. However, it is felt that the disease was not passed from dog to dog. It is more likely that these animals all succumbed to the disease because they spent time in the same environment. The vast majority of cases have occurred between November and June of each year.

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