Alabama Rot – 5 Ways to Protect Your Dog

Here in the UK, we’re in the depths of winter and with it comes cold weather, rain and mud. Dog owners among you may also know that it is Alabama Rot season. This article explains what the mysterious disease is and why dog owners need to be particularly vigilant at this time.

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot, officially known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), is a rare but potentially deadly disease affecting dogs. First identified in the United States in the 1980s, the condition gained prominence in the UK in recent years, sparking concerns among dog owners and veterinarians. This article aims to shed light on the disease and provide five essential ways dog owners can protect their furry companions from this mystifying ailment.

Understanding Alabama Rot

The disease primarily affects the skin and kidneys of dogs. Its exact cause remains unknown, making it challenging to prevent and treat effectively. The condition is characterised by skin lesions, typically on the legs, belly, and muzzle, and can progress to acute kidney injury in severe cases. It is not believed to be contagious as there are no known cases of it spreading from one dog to another. Despite being a rare occurrence, the consequences of the disease can be devastating, leading to a mortality rate of around 80%.

BBC News Coverage

Recent reports from BBC News have highlighted the sporadic cases of Alabama Rot across the UK, emphasising the importance of awareness and vigilance among dog owners. These reports underscore the need for prompt veterinary attention if any symptoms manifest, as early detection is crucial for better treatment outcomes.

Close up of two paws of a resting dog showing the black paw pads and light brown fur.

5 Ways Dog Owners Can Protect Their Dogs

1 – Maintain Hygiene on Walks

The disease is believed to be associated with muddy and wet environments. To reduce the risk, dog owners should thoroughly wash and clean their dogs’ paws, legs, and underbelly after walks. This helps remove potential contaminants and reduces the chances of infection.

2 – Avoid Wooded and Marshy Areas

Some reported cases of the condition have occurred in wooded and marshy areas. Dog owners should be cautious when choosing walk locations, especially during the winter and spring months when the disease seems to be more prevalent. Opt for well-trodden paths and open spaces to minimize the risk.

3 – Know the Symptoms of Alabama Rot

It’s standard practice for good dog owners to be vigilant about any changes in their pet’s behaviour, appetite, or physical appearance. If your dog is showing any of the aforementioned symptoms, it could also be a sign of kidney failure, which is sometimes connected with this condition. Also pay attention to any unexplained sores, red patches, or swellings on dogs’ legs, faces, chests, or abdomens. Speed is of the essence so, if you fear your dog has been affected by Alabama Rot, get them to the vet immediately.

There are rows of tall trees on either side of the picture with bare branches. The ground is covered with patchy grass and dead leaves and dappled by autumn sunlight.

4 – Stay Informed and Aware

Keeping abreast of local news and updates about Alabama Rot is crucial. Awareness campaigns and news outlets, including reputable sources like BBC News, can provide valuable information about recent outbreaks, precautionary measures, and symptoms to watch for. UK dog owners can also visit the Live Map of Cases hosted by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.

5 – Consider Protective Measures

While the exact cause of the disease remains unknown, some dog owners opt for protective measures such as boots for their dogs to minimize direct contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. While this may not be practical for all dogs, it could be considered in high-risk areas or during specific seasons.

Dogs ask very little of their owners, offering in return unrequited love, better well-being, and improved health. Alabama Rot is a concerning issue and staying informed is crucial to protect our beloved pets. By adopting preventive measures, maintaining hygiene, and being vigilant about changes in a dog’s health, owners can contribute to reducing the risk of the disease and ensure the well-being of their furry companions.


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