Alabama rot has stricken in the first weeks of 2019, killing two dogs already. Two confirmed cases occurred in Redruth, Cornwall and Lostock, Greater Manchester. After last year’s record toll, dog owners should be reminded to keep canine pets off muddy areas. This is to keep the four-legged friends from picking up the deadly disease.
Alabama Rot in the UK
Also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), Alabama rot causes vomiting and skin lesions in canine pets. About 80 per cent of those affected result in death, thus earning the disease the moniker ‘dog’s black death.’
In 2017, there have been thirty-seven deaths recorded and in 2018, there are more than forty-six cases in the UK that have been confirmed. Excluded on the said numbers on Alabama rot cases in 2018 are four deaths of canine in December alone. December 2018 deaths happened in Putney in Greater London, Portreath, Cornwall, and Caterham and Woldingham in Surrey.
CRGV has only begun manifesting in the UK in 2012, although the disease was already identified in the USA since the 1980s. It was first observed in the state of Alabama.
What Is Alabama Rot?
Alabama rot is a fatal disease that targets the blood vessels of the kidney and skin of dogs, and affects any breed, age, or sex. The damaged vessels then develop into a clot, damaging the lining of the kidneys and other tissues in the affected organ. Whilst it does cause skin ulcerations, it is the kidney damage leading to failure that can be fatal for canine pets.
Symptoms of CRGV include:
- Low appetite
- Kidney failure within 2–7 days from exposure
- Sore yet injury-free skin below the knee or elbow area
- Skin ulcers or lesions below the knee and elbow, lower body, and/or the dog’s face, nose, mouth, or tongue
The mysterious Alabama rot has not been reported to affect rabbits or cats.
What Is the Treatment?
As soon as symptoms emerge, especially the sores on the parts of the dog closest to the ground, the animal must immediately be brought to a veterinarian for treatment. The earlier the disease is caught, the better the chances of canine recovery.
The vet typically treats the skin lesions and provides supportive therapy in cases of renal infection. Vets in the UK have been able to treat infected dogs successfully since 2013.
How Do I Prevent My Dog from Getting Alabama Rot?
Veterinarians and canine health advocates have recommended a number of precautionary measures to dog owners to help keep their furry friends Alabama rot-free.
- Keep dogs away from muddy areas.
- Thoroughly clean dogs that have walked in mud after the outdoor jaunt. Take this opportunity to check muzzle, belly, legs, and paws for any wounds or lesions.
- Regularly check canine pets for lumps and lesions, especially between November and May (Alabama rot season).
- If your garden or home grounds have become muddy, consider covering the muddy patches with gravel or some other material.
Although vets agree there is no guaranteed way to Alabama rot-proof canine pets, the best recourse in cases of infection is immediate treatment by a veterinarian.
- New Forest
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