The Lowdown on Alabama Rot
The Lowdown on AlabamaRot
You may not yet be very aware of Alabama Rot, but if you owna dog it’s a disease you need to learnabout - just in case the worst happens and your dog succumbs to this unpleasantcondition. With cases on the increase in the UK in the last few years, it paysto be vigilant.
What is Alabama Rot?
Otherwise known as Idiopathic Cutaneious and RenalGlomerular Vasculopathy or CRGV (yes, we agree –Alabama Rot is a much easier name to remember!), it’s thought it could be caused by a rare strain of E. coli.It’s named after the area in the USwhere it was first identified in the 1980’s. Rotrather dramatically describes what happens to a dog that contracts the disease,as their skin rots and festers, leading eventually to loss of appetite,tiredness, vomiting and kidney failure.
The worst scenario – if adog does not get the urgent treatment necessary, he will sink into a deep feverand eventually die. Skin lesions – smallround ulcerated sores, often seen on the lower leg below the knee and elbow – are usually present about 2-7 daysbefore kidney failure sets in, hence the need for immediate treatment.
How is it Contracted?
No dog is immune; it can attack any dog, any breed, any age,weight and condition. It’s thoughtthe disease is picked up onto paws and legs during muddy walks, which is whythe lesions start in this area. In the four-five years that it has been in theUK, cases have been much more common in the winter and spring, when the weathertends to be much wetter and muddier than at other times of year. There could bean environmental factor but this has not been confirmed. In fact, the realcause is not yet understood, although experts suspect it is related to E. coli.
Without knowing the exact cause, it is difficult to makerecommendations on how to prevent the disease. However, there are some simpleactions recommended by experts you can take that may help to prevent your dogcontracting this life-threatening condition.
A sensible precaution that could help is to bathe or washyour dog on return from wet or muddy walks using a suitable disinfectantshampoo, spray or wipes.
Should you be Worried?
If your dog has a skin lesion, it does not necessarily meanit has Alabama Rot, but it is worth having him checked out by the vet. If thereis a problem, the sooner he is seen, the better the outcome will be. Cases havebeen identified in various areas across the UK, and could be seen anywhere in GreatBritain, so just by being aware and by regular washing of your dog, you will bedoing your bit to help, wherever you live. After all, your dog is an importantpart of your family - he deserves your vigilance and care.