Alabama Rot in dogs: Spot the signs and protect your dog

4 CommentsThursday, 29 March 2018  |  Kate

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot (Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy, or CRGV) is a potentially fatal disease in dogs. Tragically 70-80% of cases prove to be fatal. At least 29 cases of Alabama Rot have been confirmed in the UK so far in 2018, on addition to the 40 cases in 2017 and 19 in 2016. There have been 152 confirmed cases since 2012. The disease has been documented throughout England and Wales with hotspots in Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, West Sussex, Manchester, Surrey, London, and as far north as Dumfries.

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot (CRGV)?

Alabama Rot doesn’t discriminate affecting all dogs no matter what breed or age. Common symptoms reported so far have been:

  • Skin lesions (often circular) sores and ulcers generally found between toes, on paws, feet, legs and elbows, chest and abdomen. Also on the face and occasionally in the mouth.
  • Tiredness or lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (looks for a yellowing in your dog’s eyes or gums)
  • Kidney failure

Affected dogs won’t show all these symptoms at once so it’s vital you get your dog to the vet urgently if they display any of the above.

How do dogs get Alabama Rot?

The cause is still unknown though most cases occur during winter and spring. Dog owners have reported walking in muddy, sometimes leafy areas, or near water.

How can I protect my dog?

The problem is that until we know the cause of Alabama Rot we don’t know how to protect our dogs from catching it, we can only take precautions, so:

  • Wash any mud and dirt off your dog after a walk especially if you’ve been out walking in muddy areas, or near water: in the woods, along riverbanks, up on the hills
  • Check your dog over for sores or lesions, remembering to check between the toes too
  • Ask your vet if there have been any cases reported in your area

I rinse Nikita’s paws after every walk, wash them with Skinny Shampoo once a week then dip in Paw Soak every couple of weeks. If it’s easier, spray paws and legs with My Itchy Dog’s Pest Spray.

These are just the precautions I take with Nikita to keep the dirt and bacteria to a minimum. Keeping paws clean and being vigilant followed by a swift visit to the vet if necessary is our only defence against Alabama Rot until a cause is found. If you are concerned about your dog please speak to your vet.

Check how many cases of Alabama Rot have been confirmed in your area visit the Vets4Pets AR map and enter your postcode.

Sandra Hilton
Friday, 30 March 2018  |  21:16

Scary! It is very hard in our climate to be able to find a dry route for a walk with the dogs anywhere in the uk.

We are lucky that there are no reported cases near us and that we are in an isolated property with our own land/fields to walk the dogs in, so hopefully we might not come across it, God willing.

For some reason, I was also thinking about the numbers of dogs who are exercised on beaches here in North Wales. I was just wondering whether salt water might be a positive thing in this respect? Not much use to the millions of dogs who are nowhere near to the coast though obviously.

Fingers crossed for a breakthrough sometime soon.

Janis Hill
Saturday, 31 March 2018  |  8:00

I live
in Charente Maritime France , about 2 hours North of Bordeaux.
Have you heard of there is any Alabama for in France yet ?
Thank you

Tuesday, 3 April 2018  |  9:21

Hi Janis

I've not heard of any but that doesn't mean it's unheard of. The best thing to do is ask the vet in your area.


Lynne Fraser
Saturday, 31 March 2018  |  10:31

I am working on awareness for AR and with some friends we are fundraising to try to find someone to study and find what is causing this horrible disease and find a cure for it we are also asking people to sign the petition to ask the Government to do something about it. Would you mind if I were to copy and paste your information out to the wider community on our facebook page Alabama Stop- the Rot. The petition is on thank you.