Alabama Rot update

We are saddened to report that there has been a confirmed case of Alabama rot under our care. The dog developed acute signs of kidney failure and skin lesions were subsequently identified. Unfortunately the dog was euthanised due to the deterioration of their condition. The dog was walked exclusively on the owner’s private land.

We know this is a real worry for all dog owners, and want to help answer as many questions as possible about this new disease. We would also like to reassure everyone that despite four confirmed cases in the North Devon area over the past two months, it remains a very rare condition.

If your dog presents with sudden onset skin lesions of no known cause we would recommend having them checked over by a veterinary professional as soon as possible. Similarly if they suddenly seem off colour, lethargic, begin vomiting or drinking excessive amount of water we would also recommend being seen by a vet. All of these can be signs of Alabama rot but equally can be found in a number of other much more common canine conditions.

There are several theories circulating at the moment for how exactly Alabama rot comes about, but currently the cause is not known. It seems to be more common between November and May, although cases have been seen throughout the year. Due to the fact the exact cause remains unknown, it is difficult to advise how to completely prevent the condition. We do know that muddy and woodland walks seem to be of greater risk. We strongly advise washing your dog off thoroughly after every walk.

Alabama Rot is a disease which causes small clots to form in blood vessels. These clots can block the blood vessels causing tissues supplied by this vessel to be damaged. The skin and the kidneys are the tissues most affected by this process. Skin sores are most commonly below the elbow or the knee, especially on the feet, but can be anywhere on your dog’s body including the muzzle. The sores look like swelling, redness, or an open ulcer like area. In some cases skin lesions are all you see, but in rare cases it will progress to kidney failure. This is usually two to seven days after the skin lesions are first seen. Signs of kidney failure include vomiting, lack of appetite quiet demeanour, urinating lots or not at all and uncharacteristic tiredness. Blood tests will be necessary to confirm any changes to the kidneys and your vet may recommend this as initial testing. Again we want to reassure everyone that Alabama rot remains very rare. We hope most questions that can be answered have been answered but would ask you to visit the following website for more up to date and reliable information. Alternatively give your vet a ring for further advice or guidance if you have any concerns.

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