Warning for Dog Owners: Understanding and Preventing Alabama Rot

In recent news, a concerning trend has emerged for dog owners across Britain as cases of the deadly Alabama rot have been confirmed. This serious disease, exclusive to dogs, manifests as painful sores on their paws and legs, often leading to kidney failure. Alarmingly, there is currently no cure for Alabama rot, making early detection crucial as most cases tragically result in fatality. Since 2012, the UK has witnessed 318 confirmed cases of Alabama rot, with 10 new cases reported in 2024 alone, according to Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.

Alabama rot, also known as CRGV (cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy), is particularly prevalent during wet and muddy conditions, making it more common in the rainy and damp winter weather. Despite its initial association with greyhounds in America during the 1980s, Alabama rot can affect dogs of any breed, age, or size. The disease begins by damaging the blood vessels in the skin, ultimately posing a severe threat to the kidneys.

The exact cause of Alabama rot remains unknown, although scientists speculate a connection to muddy environments and wet walks, where dogs may come into contact with the disease. Most cases occur during winter and spring, with fewer reported during the summer months.

Alabama Rot Symptoms

The RSPCA advises dog owners to remain vigilant for signs of Alabama rot, which include skin sores, swelling, red patches, or unexplained skin issues. Changes in appetite, increased thirst, vomiting, and lethargy may also indicate kidney damage. It’s crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately upon observing any of these symptoms, as Alabama rot can develop within one to ten days of exposure, with kidney failure occurring shortly after the appearance of sores.

Alabama Rot Prevention Measures

As the precise cause of Alabama rot remains elusive, preventative measures primarily focus on cleanliness. Dog owners are encouraged to thoroughly clean and dry their pets after walks, especially if they have been in muddy or watery environments. Regularly inspecting your dog’s body for sores or ulcers is also recommended, as this can aid in early detection and treatment of various health issues beyond Alabama rot.

Alabama Rot Treatment and Insurance Coverage

Skin ulcers or sores are typically treated with topical creams or ointments, while suspected cases of Alabama rot necessitate antibiotics and monitoring of kidney function. Unfortunately, Alabama rot can only be definitively diagnosed posthumously, making survival rates uncertain. Regarding insurance coverage, policies vary in their inclusion of illness-related expenses, so it’s essential for dog owners to review their policies to ensure adequate coverage for conditions like Alabama rot.

In conclusion, while Alabama rot poses a significant threat to dogs across the UK, proactive measures such as cleanliness and early detection can help mitigate its impact. By remaining informed and vigilant, dog owners can safeguard their beloved pets from this devastating disease.