Vet chiefs assure dog owners after new case of Alabama Rot: What to do if you think your pet is infected

Veterinary chiefs have issued assurances for dog owners after a new case of the potentially fatal disease, Alabama Rot, was reported in the UK.
Telltale reddening around the back leg of a dog with Alabama RotTelltale reddening around the back leg of a dog with Alabama Rot
Telltale reddening around the back leg of a dog with Alabama Rot

The British Veterinary Association issued the assurances after Dorchester based vet, Girling & Bowditch Vets, reported a confirmed case of the potentially deadly disease on 30 January.

In a statement to their Facebook page the vets said: "We have had a confirmed case of cutaneous & renal glomerular vasculopathy, otherwise known as Alabama Rot in the Ryme Intrisica /West Chelborough area.

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"This disease often manifests as "skin lesions". Often there will be a scrape or ulcer to an area, often feet. There could be red areas with black centres often found on the legs and muzzle.

"This disease process can go on to affect the kidneys and cause kidney failure with a high probability of fatality. There is no telling which dogs will be affected and whether if they develop skin lesions they will go on to develop kidney failure."

The British Veterinary Association have attempted to calm dog owners in the North West by explaining that only a small proportion of dogs have been affected.

Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “Although there have been reported cases of Alabama Rot found in the North West in the last few years, and dog owners may understandably feel anxious, the risk is low with only a small proportion of dogs having been affected.

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"Owners should make sure they are aware of the signs and symptoms, such as skin sores on the limb extremities, and contact their local vet immediately if they have any concerns.”

The news comes after a dog in Preston died of the killer disease in February 2016. According to the Vet for Pet’s Report 2016 there have been 78 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot in the UK with two in Lancashire since it was first identified in 2012.

The Blue Cross have the following advice for dog owners

- The first signs you may notice if your dog has contracted Alabama rot are lesions or ulcers on the skin. These could appear as a patch of red skin, or as an open ulcer or sore. In many cases, the lesions will look out of the ordinary to vets.

- These sores are most commonly found on a dog’s paws or lower legs, but they can also be found on a dog’s face, mouth or tongue, or on their lower body. - Signs of kidney failure include loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting

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- If your dog is showing signs of sore skin or ulcers on an area of their body that is close to the floor (and you know these have not been caused by an injury) it’s a good idea to contact your vet.

On average, dogs suffer from kidney failure about three days after lesions begin to show on the skin, however the time between sores appearing and kidney failure can be between one and 10 days.

The earlier this disease is caught and treated by a vet, the higher the chances of recovery.