What is Alabama rot and should I be worried?

You may have seen reports recently in national newspapers and online about recent outbreaks of Alabama rot which may have worried you, so here is some information that may help.

First recorded in the 1980s, Alabama rot (or CRGV) is a disease that affects dogs. The disease causes blood clots to form within vessels. These clots then lead to ulcers forming on the skin, as well as kidney damage. Unfortunately, it can be fatal.

What causes it?

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, although teams of veterinary surgeons and scientists are working to try and find out. Cases of Alabama rot started to appear in the UK in 2012. It is important to remember that the risk of your dog contracting this disease is low but cases appear to be spreading throughout the country.

What signs should I look out for?
The first signs of the disease are unexplained changes to the skin. These include redness, sores or wounds particularly to the paws but also the knees, elbows, body, face, mouth or tongue. After several days, an affected dog may start to vomit, be more tired than normal and have a reduced appetite due to kidney damage.

 Alabama Rot

There are lots of other things that can cause similar looking damage to skin.


What should I do if I think my dog has Alabama rot?

First of all, don’t panic. Alabama rot is very rare, and there are many other things that can cause damage to your pet’s skin. If you are concerned, make an appointment with us as soon as possible. The vet will examine your dog, and may want to run further blood tests to check for signs of kidney damage. There is no single specific test to check whether or not your dog does have this disease.

 Alabama Rot

How is Alabama rot treated?

As the exact cause of this disease is unknown, treatment is mainly supportive. Affected dogs may be given antibiotics and started on a drip to help support their kidney function. In some cases, we may suggest referring your pet to a specialist.


How do I prevent my dog from getting this disease?

This is tricky to answer. As we are still not sure what exactly causes Alabama rot, there are no definite guidelines on how to help avoid it. Most (but not all) cases have been seen in dogs that have walked in woodland. It is suggested that you should try and avoid walking your dog in very muddy areas. If this is not practical another suggestion is to wash your dog after a wet or muddy walk. 

If you are concerned about your dog, please do not hesitate to contact the Oak on 01437 760111.

Further information on Alabama rot can be found at www.andersonmoores.com/vet/news

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