- Alabama rot causes skin lesions and can cause fatal kidney disease
- The cause of Alabama rot is unknown, but most dogs that need treatment have been walked in muddy, woodland areas
- If you notice symptoms of Alabama rot, such as lesions, sores or ulcers on your dog’s legs, paws or face, contact your vet immediately
Alabama rot is a disease that damages blood vessels in the skin and kidney. It causes blood to clot in the vessels which damages the lining and the delicate tissues of the kidneys.
This causes ulcers on a dog’s skin, but sadly it causes kidney failure in the kidneys, which can be fatal.
Alabama rot’s full, scientific name is cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV).
It was first identified in the USA in the 1980s.
What causes Alabama rot?
The actual cause of Alabama rot is not known. Some reports in the US suggest it is linked to the bacteria E.coli, but there is no evidence for this in cases seen in the UK.
It can affect any dog of any breed, age, or size.
The majority of dogs who have been treated for Alabama rot in the UK have been walked in muddy and/or woodland areas.
More cases are reported between November and May than between June and October, which suggests the dogs are more likely to be affected in winter and spring.
What are the symptoms Alabama rot?
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.
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.
How can I stop my dog getting Alabama rot?
As the source of Alabama rot is unknown, there is no way of making sure you stay away from the cause but there are things you can do to prevent your dog from being affected.
Checking your dog’s body once a day for lumps and bumps is a good habit for all dog owners to get in to, and checking them regularly for the signs listed above will help lower the risk of your dog dying from Alabama rot.
Sadly, dogs have contracted Alabama rot in many places across the UK over the past couple of years including Wales.
Thankfully, the disease is not always fatal and the earlier it is caught, the greater your dog’s chances of survival.
Dogs cannot be vaccinated against Alabama rot.
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There is growing evidence of the links between two specific diseases in livestock and
the presence on grazing land of faeces from infected dogs. The two diseases are:
- Neosporosis – which can cause abortions in cattle
- Sarcocystosis – which can cause neurological disease and death in sheep
Neosporosis can result in miscarriage in cattle and Sarcocystosis can be responsible
for neurological disease and death in sheep. Dogs are important vectors in the
lifecycle of both these dangerous parasites and owners picking up after their dog can
help to reduce the risk of disease spreading.
Parasites found in some dog faeces can result in the abortions of cattle and death in
sheep and with several reports over recent months, it is important to be more
The message is to remember to pick up any faeces from dogs when they are uslng agricultural land.
Neosporosis can cause abortions in cattle and is thought to be responsible for the
highest percentage of all cattle abortions reported in the UK. Neospora eggs are
produced by infected dogs and excreted in their faeces. Cattle will then become
infected if they eat food i.e. grass, or drink water contaminated with the eggs.
The prevalence of the disease in herds, and its potential impact on farm economics –
due to infected cows being more likely to abort, premature culling and reduced milk
yields – make this an important disease to try to control.
Sarcocystosis is also caused by parasites which can use dogs as intermediate hosts
and similarly the eggs are produced and excreted in faeces. Sheep wlll become
infected if they eat food or drink contaminated by the eggs.
The presence of sarcocysts, parasites, on a carcass following slaughter can result in
the carcass being condemned. The disease can be passed on from ewe to lamb
ln terms of both these diseases, faeces from infected dogs can contaminate pasture
and animal feed, water or bedding.
There is currently no licensed vaccine or drugs available for these diseases.
On the 30th April 2015, the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014 replaced the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 in Wales. Breeders need to contact their Local Authority to obtain a dog breeding licence or for more information about the changes including –
- the minimum staff ratio to adult dogs
- requirement for breeders to adopt socialisation plans for puppies
- enhancement and enrichment programmes for all dogs
Breeders who keep three or more breeding bitches are required to meet the regulations.
Members are advised to ensure that the new owners of any dogs they sell inform the relevant microchip database of their details.
This should avoid the original owner or person implanting the chip being contacted (as is being reported) should the dog go missing in the future.
The Society has been kindly gifted a set of I.S.D.S. stud Books Volumes 1 to 46 (I to XLVI) pre-1939 to 1992.
Kindly given by Mrs. Sue Davies of Much Wenlock and her mother Mrs. Onslow following the passing of her father Mr. Jack Onslow. They were originally collected by Mr. Louis Heath and have been donated to the Society because they wanted them to be kept together as a set to be enjoyed by people with a genuine interest in the sport.
They are available to be inspected by arrangement with the Secretary.