Alabama Rot Threatens Dogs in the UK
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.
What is Alabama Rot?
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.
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.