Most dogs love nothing more than to splash around in the mud and the April showers have left many irresistibly murky puddles in parks and along popular dog walking routes. However, owners have been urged to be on red alert following the news that a potentially deadly, doggy disease – Alabama rot – is sweeping across the UK. Here’s how you can protect your pet…
‘Alabama rot’ is just as grisly as it sounds; a mysterious, flesh-eating disease that causes small clots to form in the blood vessels and block them, damaging the affected tissue. Also referred to as CRGV, the disease can affect dogs of any breed, age or weight. If left untreated, it can result in fatal kidney failure even after just one week of the dog contracting it – and sadly, nine in 10 die from the disease.
To help you protect your pooch, here’s our simple guide to understanding Alabama rot:
How many dogs are affected?
Sadly, cases of Alabama rot in dogs is on the rise. The disease was first detected in 2012, with the largest outbreak recorded in New Forest, Hampshire. Almost 30 dogs have been affected in the UK so far, with 40 cases last year and 19 in 2016.
How is the disease spread?
Unfortunately, as the cause of Alabama rot is not yet known (despite ongoing efforts), it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how the disease is spread. However, it’s been speculated that dogs could pick it up on their paws and legs during muddy walks, so it may bring you peace of mind to give them a thorough hose down or doggy bath as soon as you get home.
What are the symptoms?
Without a known cause, it’s also hard to recommend measures for preventing Alabama rot in your dog. So, what’s most important is to learn the tell-tale signs of the disease, so you can act straight away if you notice any of them in your pet – ultimately, giving your pooch the very best chance of survival.
Initial signs to look out for are sores in the form of swelling, lesions or a patch of red skin typically below the elbow, knee or sometimes on the face or stomach. These sores might also be open and look similar to an ulcer; fur loss is not uncommon either, and dogs will start to lick their wounds.
Dogs suffering from the disease will display signs of severe depression, will lose their appetite, grow unusually tired and start to vomit, which are symptoms of kidney injury and failure.
What should you do?
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, don’t hesitate to call a vet. The earlier a dog is treated, the better chance it has of survival.
An important piece of advice would be not to panic. Though cases are on the up, Alabama rot only affects a small number of the UK’s doggy population. That said, it’s better to be safe than to be sorry and at least paying a visit to the vet will put your mind at ease.
Don’t forget to take out a pet insurance policy that will protect your beloved dog against unforeseen circumstances – get a quote today.