Alabama Rot was first seen in the UK for the first time in 2012, it is unknown exactly what causes it (for example a bacteria, virus or toxin); but it is most similar to a disease seen in dogs in America. From the cases seen so far in this country there is no link between any particular dog breed or gender. It was first seen here in the New Forest but more recently there have been cases in East Molesey and Wimbledon.
What are the signs?
The first signs are usually ulcerated (red and raw) areas of skin on the paws, tummy or face, sometimes in the mouth as well. Dogs which have the disease then develop kidney failure quite quickly afterwards; signs of which include lethargy, weakness, vomiting and changes in urination and thirst – usually a decrease.
How do you test for it?
Unfortunately there isn’t test for Alabama Rot, the only way to know for sure is to do a post mortem. If you have found any new abnormal areas on your dog’s skin and are concerned, then do not hesitate to call or book an appointment for a check up. Blood tests can be performed to check for kidney problems, and if Alabama Rot is suspected then management can be started immediately. Sadly most of the dogs which develop kidney failure die very quickly despite treatment.
How do I stop my dog getting it?
As it is not known what causes Alabama Rot or how it is spread, trying to avoid it is very difficult. Our advice is the check your dog every day after a walk and get familiar with what their skin normally looks like, pay particular attention to the paws and pads, tummy and face. If you see any new skin changes or signs of kidney problems then please give us a call on 0208 977 3955 (Teddington), 01932 229 900 (Shepperton) or 0208 390 5270 (Surbiton).
Information by Jenny Lowe, Veterinary Surgeon at Vet4life