• Unknown cause that can affect all breeds
  • Can lead to fatal kidney failure in 9/10 dogs
  • Currently no cure for the disease also known as CRGV

Outbreaks of Alabama Rot across the country have helped raise awareness with UK dog owners about this disease.

The first case of Alabama Rot in the UK was reported in 2012 and, since then, there have been around 100 confirmed cases across more than 20 counties.

The, often-incurable disease, causes a dog to develop skin lesions which can lead to organ failure. In 80% of cases, infected dogs die in just a few days.

What exactly is Alabama Rot?

The medical term for the disease is Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV). As the common name ‘Alabama Rot’ suggests, the disease was first seen in Alabama in the 1980s where it affected Greyhounds. 

Although still quite rare, the disease, which damages blood vessels in the skin and kidneys and prevents the blood from filtering properly, has been on the rise in the UK since 2012. Dogs of different breeds, sizes and age have been diagnosed with the disease, particularly around the New Forest in Hampshire.

Vets are still uncertain of what causes the disease. It’s thought that dogs can pick it up when they walk and play in muddy puddles – though this has not yet been proven by testing. It may be seasonal, as there are spikes in reported cases from November to May. Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to prevent your dog from getting Alabama Rot.

What are the symptoms?

Dogs with Alabama Rot often become very lethargic and lose their appetite, they may even be sick.

Check them over for any signs of:

  • skin sores
  • red skin
  • cuts which spread over the skin to the legs, chest and belly, especially if they don’t heal and/or develop into ulcers 

If you recognise any of the above symptoms and have concerns, please contact your vet straight away.

What treatment is available?

Your vet will run blood and urine tests to establish your dog’s kidney function and if they’ve been affected, will begin a course of intensive treatment. The skin sores will be dressed and cleaned to prevent any infections occurring.

There isn’t a cure for Alabama Rot; it can be fatal and fast moving. Sadly not every dog will get better so if you notice any of the symptoms, it is vital to contact your vet as soon as possible. 

It could be costly to get the correct treatment for your dog, so if you haven’t already taken out pet insurance, it’s worth getting cover sorted sooner, rather than later.

Stay informed to avoid Alabama Rot

As little is yet known about the cause of Alabama Rot, it’s difficult to give specific advice about prevention.
 
Dog owners are advised to consider washing their dog if they become wet or muddy on a walk, avoid woodland, and to regularly check their dog for cuts or lesions.
 

You can also use online resources to check if there have been any confirmed cases of Alabama Rot in your area.