Alabama Rot: cause, symptoms, and treatment explained as cases rise

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Alabama rot is associated with walks on wet, muddy terrain

This year has already seen ten confirmed cases of Alabama rot in the UK, which can cause ulcers, kidney failure and even be fatal if left untreated. Dog experts Kennel Store have explained the causes, the signs and symptoms in affected dogs.

Alabama rot, also known as CRGV (cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy), is a very rare but potentially life-threatening disease that blocks and damages the blood vessels in a dog’s skin and kidneys. Dogs affected by CRGV often develop ulcers or sores (typically on the bottom part of the leg) and generally go on to develop kidney failure, which is often fatal.

What causes Alabama rot?

The exact cause of Alabama rot is unknown, although research is ongoing. Most reports come from dog owners who walk their dogs in the countryside, and most cases are reported during winter and spring.
Cases are generally less common in the summer months compared to the winter months. The first case was reported in America, in the 1980s and at first it was thought to only affect Greyhounds. It is now understood to affect all breeds, ages and sizes of dog.

What are the symptoms of Alabama rot?

• Skin ulcers that can appear on the legs or paws (these marks may appear as an area of redness, but could also present as a bruise, sting or an open sore)
• Ulcers may also develop on the muzzle, tongue, head, flank and belly
• Changes in appetite such as reduced appetite, excessive drinking, vomiting and lethargy are signs of acute kidney injury

How can you protect your dog?

Wash all mud off following wet and muddy walks, especially if you’ve gone through woodland areas.

What is the treatment for Alabama rot?

Due to the underlying cause of Alabama rot still being unknown, there is no specific treatment. If your dog is showing symptoms of CRGV, it’s vital your dog is taken to the vets promptly, so a plan can be decided and treatment can begin.

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