Alabama Rot: your questions answered
Just the words “Alabama Rot” are enough to instil fear in dog owners, especially with the recent increase in reported cases.
In this post, we will try to answer some of your most asked questions about Alabama Rot.
The key to treatment of Alabama Rot is acting on symptoms early, so the more you know the better equipped you will be should your dog come into contact with the disease.
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot is a very rare disease which affects dogs, causing damage to their blood vessels and kidneys.
The cause of Alabama Rot is currently unknown, making it difficult to prevent.
What do we actually know for certain about Alabama Rot?
What we do know is the following:
- It can affect any dog regardless of breed, size and age
- The majority of confirmed cases in the UK were of dogs who had been walked in muddy and/or woodland areas
- There is no evidence that the disease can be spread directly from dog to dog
- The majority of cases have occurred between November and May
- Alabama Rot is very rare. There have been various cases, all over the country geographically since 2012 (prior to this there was just one reported case in 2000). One source suggests 98 confirmed cases have occurred since 2012, as well as 35 suspected cases.
Should I be worried?
It is important to remember that Alabama Rot is extremely rare. The main cause for worry comes from the fact that so little is known, making it difficult to diagnose, treat and prevent. Awareness is important, but the actual percentage of dogs affected is minuscule.
The disease itself causes damage to the dog’s blood vessels and kidneys. Once the disease has been contracted, survival rates are estimated to be only 20-30% of cases. Time is a key factor so the earlier symptoms are spotted, the higher the chance of survival.
What symptoms should I look out for?
- Skin sores, lesions and red patches that have not been caused by a known injury. These are most commonly found on the lower legs, feet, stomach or face (including the tongue). There is often hair loss around the wound.
- Outward symptoms of kidney failure including:
- Reduced appetite
- Signs of depression
What steps can I take to prevent my dog from getting Alabama Rot?
The actual cause of the disease isn’t currently known making it difficult to prescribe any sort of preventative steps.
Some sources have suggested washing any mud off your dog after walks and generally avoiding wet and muddy areas. It is also advisable to keep an eye out for any skin sores.
What do I do if I suspect my dog has Alabama Rot?
If your dog shows any symptoms of Alabama Rot, contact your vet immediately. The earlier the disease is caught, the more likely it is that your dog will survive.