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5 Things You Should Know About Alabama Rot In The UK

8 CommentsTuesday, 12 January 2016  |  Kate

The headlines on Alabama Rot in the UK are:

  1. It’s incredibly rare
  2. The cause is unknown
  3. It is treatable but
  4. You need to know the warning signs and get your dog to the vet immediately
  5. There have been 71 possible cases of Alabama Rot across England between November 2012 and March 2014

Read on!

What is Alabama Rot? 
Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, otherwise known as CRGV or Alabama Rot is a disease that’s been around since the late 1980’s. It was initially thought to only affect Greyhounds, and the dogs reported with the disease presented with kidney failure and/or skin lesions. The cause of the disease remains unknown.

However, we do know it’s a bacterial infection. Alabama Rot doesn’t discriminate based on breed, age or sex.

How do dogs catch Alabama Rot?
No one really knows. Alabama Rot is a bacterial infection that isn’t passed from dog to dog. It has been linked a rare E. Coli bacteria which could be picked up from taking walks in the woods and on down land.

What are the signs and symptoms of Alabama Rot?

Skin lesions and reddening of the skin are the main symptoms of Alabama Rot. Typically, skin lesions occur below the knee or elbow and can be mistaken for wounds caused by injury. Lesions can also be seen on the face and the skin of the bottom of the chest and abdomen.

Once a lesion has developed, over the next few days affected dogs can develop the clinical signs of kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and lethargy.

If your dog is presenting with any of these symptoms you need to see a vet immediately. Alabama Rot is diagnosed by a blood test.

Not all dogs will develop full-blown symptoms and kidney failure but all dogs will need diagnosis and help.

How you can protect your dog from Alabama Rot?
The problem is that until we know the cause of Alabama Rot we don’t know how to protect our dogs from catching it.

The best ways to protect your dog are:

  1. Wash any mud and dirt off your dog after a walk
  2. Ask your vet if there have been any cases reported in your area
  3. Keep an eye on this map, which lists recorded cases of Alabama rot by area.

If you are concerned about your dog please speak to your vet.

Get the latest news on Alabama Rot here.

Alabama Rot confirmed cases map.

Gail Pollard
Friday, 1 May 2015  |  11:31

I was so worried about this last year, that I kept my two dogs from wooded areas. Has there been progress in finding a cause and cure.

Friday, 1 May 2015  |  11:46

Not so far. No one is sure if it's parasitic, bacterial or what is causing it.

To keep it in perspective though we're talking about 40 odd cases when millions of dog walks are taken in the countryside each year.

Monday, 4 January 2016  |  16:33

My yorkiepoo has skin issues. Also her dad, full Yorkshire Terrier had anal gland problems, I was basically unaware of anal gland problems, unfortunately he had to be put down the problem became so bad.I want to stay on top of this with the only dog that I have left. Don't always have money for the Vet.

Monday, 18 September 2017  |  23:04

Hi, I'm not an expert, just my experience. I had a dog who suffered badly with her anal glands. Raw feeding her cured it. Now I only reaw feed my current pooch. If I notice he's at his bum or has the fish breath(I'm sure you know what I'm on about). I just increase the bone content slightly and the harder poo means his glands get expressed non intrusively. The good thing is its a very rare occurrence, mostly when he's been fed crap over a weekend after being looked after by my adult kids! I feed (as an example) mostly minced tripe or chicken. And a duck neck with it every few days. He gets carrott/cabbage/cucumber when I feed the guinea pigs too lol

Tuesday, 19 January 2016  |  12:48

The New Forest area is the greatest affected single area in the UK and is no surprise due to the hundreds or thousands of inconsiderate people who leave huge amounts of dog mess on the ground day after day. Although I live close by, I stopped walking my dogs in the Forest years ago as it really is disgusting that dog mess is not removed and is trodden day after day into the ground. The earth there, is no longer earth but is instead mashed-up dog excreta and a wonderful breeding ground for any bacteria.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016  |  12:54

Hi Elizabeth

Thanks for your comment. While I agree that not picking up after your dog is disgusting, and bagging then leaving it is worse, I need to make the point that the root cause of Alabama Rot remains unknown.

Also, there will be excrement from ponies, foxes, badgers, rats and other rodents, cats, rabbits and Lord knows what else in the forest so I don't want to point the finger, so to speak, at dog poo.

Having said that, Elizabeth is right, clean up after your dog.

Carol Evans
Wednesday, 27 January 2016  |  19:18

I have a wheaten terrier who has skin allergies and a condition called annual foguloicies can you help me with what I can do about this I have just ordered my itchy dog shampoo and conditioners she also has a on going ear problem anything would be a help

Thursday, 4 February 2016  |  15:00

Hi Carol

I'm afraid I've never heard of it. What is it? Is it spelt correctly?