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.