Alabama Rot – the very mention of this devastating dog disease strikes fear into the hearts of UK dog owners!
Since it was first diagnosed in the UK five years ago, it has hit dogs in most parts of the country.
Sadly, the cause is still unknown and the survival rate is low – although getting the dog to an expert vet quickly will improve the odds. (See more information at the end of the article on what to look for.)
So, that’s the really bad news – but the good news is that the number of reported cases is relatively low and research is underway in the hope of identifying this terrible disease – and finding a cure.
Alabama Rot ( medical name Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy or CRGV ) appears to affect dogs of both sexes, any breed and any age so we all have a reason to support the vital research.
We are a small family business and sadly, we get more requests from good causes than we can help but we do what we can – and we were more than happy to provide prizes for fund raising for this worthy cause.
The fundraising charity – Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) aims to raise at least £240,000 towards research. So far over £10,000 has been raised but there’s a long way to go.
The charity is being supported by dog owner Jessica Worthington after the devastating loss of her beloved young spaniel, Pippa (pictured above.) After losing Pippa, Jessica set up a fundraising page on Facebook “Pledge for Pippa.”
Jessica, whose other dog Molly survived the disease, now raises funds for the ongoing research and attends dog events to raise awareness of the disease.
She said: “Pippa was two and half years old, full of life and a joy to be around. She was cheated. I felt cheated that she was gone and my heart was broken and will remain broken. The 15th of December will be etched in my mind forever. The day we lost our baby.”
A minority of dogs who fall ill with Alabama Rot suffer kidney failure and this is usually fatal, as in Pippa’s case.
The picture below was taken when she was undergoing dialysis at the Royal Veterinary Collage.
“One of the nurses sent it to me to show me that she was still asking for tummy rubs even when she was really poorly,” said Jessica. “It is a hard-hitting image but shows the sad reality of this awful disease.”
“I really hope we can get to the bottom of it and everyone’s support means the absolute world to me, every donation and story shared is a little victory for Pippa which makes it more bearable for me.
Jessica features in a Sky News video about the disease. You can watch it on Facebook here
Figures show that most cases (around 90%) are confirmed between December and May which suggests there may be an environmental trigger but this has not yet been established. Some owners are avoiding woodlands and muddy walks – while others wash mud from their dogs after a walk. There is no evidence yet that any of these actions will avoid the disease but washing your dog’s legs after a dirty walk can’t hurt.
Images of lesions from Alabama Rot
There is an excellent website devoted to Alabama Rot which has more images, a map of confirmed cases in the UK and current advice for dog owners. The website, which can be seen here, was set up by dog owner, Chris Street who lives near the New Forest.
Here are some of the key signs of the disease:
- Skin lesions, ulcers, sores or bite marks
- Lethargy or a loss of energy
- Loss of appetite and a reluctance to eat
- Jaundice such as a discolouration in your dog’s eyes, gums or nostrils
- Vomiting or gagging have been observed in some cases at later stages of Alabama Rot
- Kidney failure occurs in a minority of cases and usually proves fatal
NOTE: It is important to understand that not all dogs display all of the symptoms, so if you notice any of the above in your dog, take it to a vet immediately.
If your vet thinks there is any chance your dog could be suffering from Alabama Rot, ask them to contact Anderson Moores vets in Winchester. (01962 767920) or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anderson Moores is collating data on all cases nationally and can provide histopathology to vets free of charge in suspected cases.
Anderson Moores also has an information page for dog owners.