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5 signs of Alabama Rot in dogs, as cases begin to rise for the winter season

Country Living (UK) logo Country Living (UK) 4 days ago Katie Avis-Riordan
a dog sitting in the sand: Alabama Rot, the flesh-eating disease which can be fatal to dogs, has severely hit one UK town as the disease spreads across the country. © mis1il - Getty Images Alabama Rot, the flesh-eating disease which can be fatal to dogs, has severely hit one UK town as the disease spreads across the country.

The number of cases of Alabama Rot – a flesh-eating disease which can be fatal to dogs – has increased in the past 12 months, with 17 confirmed incidents reported in 2019.

Areas including West Sussex, Greater Manchester, Dorset, Devon and Hampshire’s New Forest have seen many dogs diagnosed with the disease this year.

Over the past few weeks, cases of Alabama Rot have been reported in smaller towns and villages including Southwater and Horsham in Sussex.

"We are sad to announce another case of Alabama Rot, particularly as we’re entering the time of year when cases are most common," David Walker, leading expert on the condition from Anderson Moores, told West Sussex County Times.

"A further confirmed case means it is understandably very worrying for dog owners; however, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions."

Last year, cases of the disease were found right around the country. See below for symptoms, expert advice and a handy tool which checks for confirmed cases in your area.

What is Alabama Rot?

The flesh-eating disease, also known as CRGV, causes dogs to vomit, develop skin lesions and is fatal in 80% of cases. This is due to the fact that if the disease is not spotted early, it can lead to sudden and potentially fatal kidney failure.

The organisation Vets4Pets has released a map on their website, revealing all confirmed cases across the UK:

a close up of a map: Alabama dog rot cases © Vets4Pets Alabama dog rot cases

Check for confirmed cases in your area by entering your location here.

Signs of Alabama Rot, by Girling & Bowditch Vets:

  • Skin lesions
  • A scrape or ulcer to an area, often feet
  • Red areas with black centres often found on the legs and muzzle
  • The disease can develop to affect the kidneys and cause kidney failure, which is most likely fatal
  • Once the disease has gone to this further stage symptoms include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness

Unfortunately, as the cause of Alabama Rot is not known, dog owners cannot directly prevent their pet from contracting the disease. But here is some advice on reducing the risk...

How to help prevent the disease:

  • Try to walk your dog on dry paths and avoid muddy areas.
  • Wash off paws, legs and tummies of dogs after a muddy walk.
  • Check for symptoms and call a vet if in doubt.

Alabama Rot was first recorded in the UK in 2012 and the first case in Wales was confirmed in 2014. There have been more than 140 cases in the UK since 2012.

"It is understandably very worrying for dog owners," Alabama Rot expert David Walker told Metro. "But we hope the increase in cases is partially due to a higher awareness and understanding of the disease.

"We also advise dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from a vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions."

Alabama Rot can affect dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds. Dog owners should contact a vet immediately if they see any of the symptoms.

Gallery: 35 Photos of Snoozing Dogs That Will Make Your Heart Melt [Best Life]

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