About Susan

Journalist, wife, mother, dog lover, media law freak, environmentalist AND a huge fan of E.M Delafield and her great book, Diary of a Provincial Lady.

Spotting the signs of Alabama Rot in dogs

The response to our last article on Alabama Rot showed just how concerned most dog owners are about the disease.

It’s obviously vital that you can spot any physical signs of the disease quickly so we thought it would be good to provide more images.

Many thanks to Chris at the Alabama Rot website for allowing us to use this gallery of images below which all show confirmed cases of the disease. You can click on the image to magnify.

Although there are other symptoms, skin lesions are the most common symptom and are found in virtually all affected dogs.  Lesions can cover an area as small as the size of a 5 pence piece but can also be much bigger.

If you have any concerns at all about your pet you should contact your vet as soon as possible.  Remember, the number of confirmed cases in the UK is still very low but it’s better to be on the safe side.

Finally, if you can spare even a couple of pounds, please make a donation to the ongoing research to find the cause and hopefully, a cure

Alabama Rot in dogs – What You Need to Know

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.

Pippa

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.”

pippa dialysis

“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:

  1. Skin lesions, ulcers, sores or bite marks
  2. Lethargy or a loss of energy
  3. Loss of appetite and a reluctance to eat
  4. Jaundice such as a discolouration in your dog’s eyes, gums or nostrils
  5. Vomiting or gagging have been observed in some cases at later stages of Alabama Rot
  6. 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: david@andersonmoores.com.

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.

 

 

 

Great British Start to 2017!

Happy New Year to our customers – and dog lovers everywhere.

Great news to start off the year is that the good old British bulldog carried off Best in Show at the Boston Championship Show.

You can see the worthy winner, CH Sealaville He´s Tyler, being put through his paces at last year’s Crufts here .

Sadly, researchers last year concluded that the bulldog is being “bred out of existence”. There are now moves to improve the future for the breed with vets saying the health of the dog must be put above appearance and profit.

It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for the lovable bulldog – and we’re one of the few companies who make coats specially designed for the bulldog’s wide chest.

bulldog-challenger-2Our Challenger all-weather coat is a firm favourite with bulldog owners and we also make a showerproof coat for bulldogs.

The Challenger starts from just £32.50 and is available in either cotton or thermal fleece lined versions. You can purchase on our website where you will also find a link on the homepage to a great bulldog collectibles website run by bulldog fan, Eiffion.

Lungworm – is your dog safe?

March is Lungworm awareness month so we thought it would be good to write a piece for people who don’t know about this awful parasite. If it saves the life of just one dog it’s worth it!

Dogs can become infected with lungworm in a number of ways – but the most common way is through eating slugs or snails that are carrying the parasite.

lurcher mollie

Until fairly recently, lungworm was only a problem in the south of England but latest reports suggest it has moved further north – so wherever you live, it makes sense to ensure your dog is protected.

Even if your dog doesn’t eat snails or slugs, he could still be hit if he chews toys which have been left in the garden or drinks from water which snails have accessed.

snail - lungworm

Dogs infected with lungworm can be quite ill and in some sad cases,  it proves fatal so it’s not worth taking the risk.  You can get a simple preventative treatment from your vet – or many online sources (but make sure you buy from a reliable retailer!)

The symptoms of lungworm can be vague and easily confused with other dog ailments but a blood test can show lungworm infection. Signs can include a dog who seems generally under the weather, a cough,  changes in behaviour, sickness or breathing problems.

You can find out much more on the lungworm website.  It is sponsored by a large pharmaceutical company so obviously it suggests using their product but it has lots of valuable information.

 

 

Meet Robbie – the amazing Gordon Setter

All dogs are special – and we love to see pictures of our “customers” but just occasionally we meet a doggie who is extra special.

Robbie, checking out the beach in his CountryMun ultimate dog drying coat

Robbie, checking out the beach in his CountryMun ultimate dog drying coat

Robbie the Gordon Setter is one of those dogs. His owner, Gill got in touch before Christmas hoping to get a drying coat quickly because she was taking Robbie to the seaside for Christmas.

Robbie and Gill on the beach

Robbie and Gill on the beach

It was important he stayed warm because beautiful Robbie has skin cancer. He was receiving chemotherapy at the time and had lost quite a lot of his fur.

We pulled out all the stops to ensure he got his poppy red ultimate drying coat in time for his train journey to South Wales. Although it is intended for drying, it has a deep wadding sandwiched between the towelling layers so it also makes an ideal body warmer.

Robbie, who is almost 11,  had an amazing time in Wales – and even got the red carpet treatment when a couple holding a Christmas wedding asked him to join them for wedding pictures.

Robbie - enjoying the wedding :)

Robbie – enjoying the wedding 🙂

Since then, Robbie has taken delivery of our Challenger fleece-lined coat – to make sure he stays dry on his winter walks. Gill is taking things a week at a time. There is no cure – but treatment is giving Robbie some extra precious time to spend with her.

robbie on beach in challenger

As Gill says:  His lovely vet Ingrid had to explain that without any treatment he would have a life expectancy of around six weeks.  No treatment was not an option and we chose chemotherapy to give Robbie the best chance of extending his life.   We are not going to win the war but we take three weeks at a time in which he has a blood test to check his liver profiles and this is followed two days later by four chemotherapy tablets which he takes with some cooked meat or sausage.  He is responding well to the treatment albeit palliative and we are trying to give him the best quality of life for the time he remains with us.”

It has been a difficult time for Gill and Robbie over the past three months but they have both shown real courage – and are making the most of the time they have left together.

Gill has set up a special Facebook page for Robbie where people can keep up-to-date with his story and owners can talk about their own experiences.

You can visit and join Robbie’s facebook group – it already has 350 members and Gill really enjoys hearing from other dog owners.

See our dog wetsuit in action on Youtube

Our neoprene dog wetsuit coats are popular for wet and muddy walks because they keep your dog dry – and help to give a little chest protection.

Ecology dog, Stig in his wetsuit coat

Ecology dog, Stig in his wetsuit coat

But they are also ideal for keeping your dog warm when swimming – and with the help of Spaniel Nell, a real swimming fanatic, we have uploaded a video to YouTube showing the wetsuit in action.

(The wetsuit coat is available in a range of colours and sizes. It adds a little buoyancy when swimming but it is NOT a life preserver. If your dog is not a confident swimmer – or is swimming in deep water – you will need the RuffWear lifejacket – also available on our website 🙂

The wetsuit is popular with many owners whose dogs get into scrapes – in bramble/rough undergrowth etc – because they provide some chest cover. Please note – the wetsuit is not body armour !  It is made from fabric and will puncture/tear if the dog runs into something sharp. However, it takes the brunt of the collision and can reduce the risk of your dog being injured and needing vet treatment. After all, it’s better to have a torn coat than a bleeding dog!

You can see the full range of colours, sizes and prices here.

 

Don’t Have a Hot Dog This Summer

SUMMER finally seems to have arrived – so we can all enjoy picnics, barbecues and trips to the beach.

But although most of us enjoy summer, it can be a difficult time for our four-legged friends.

 

Cooling off in the water ... Ruffwear dog lifejacket - special offer £63.99

Cooling off in the water … Ruffwear dog lifejacket – special offer £63.99

They can’t take off their coat when they become too warm – and dogs can’t sweat to cool down in the way that we do.

So we thought it would be good to provide a few tips to make summer a happier time for our pets.

Hopefully most people are now aware that a dog left in a hot car can die within just a few minutes. At the end of this article, we have provided a link to a quiz from Animal Friends Insurance so you can test your knowledge about dogs in cars.  There is also a chilling video from the Dogs Trust involving a rapidly-melting ice dog.

But first, here are some helpful doggie tips for the summer. If you have any ideas of your own, please share them by adding a comment.

  • If your dog likes water, you can put an inch or two of water into a small child’s paddling pool in the garden
  • If you are going out and leaving your dogs in the house, choose a room that doesn’t get direct sunlight
  • Always carry water for your dog on walks or day trips. Some bottles have a handy drinking trough attached and you can pick them up in bargain shops for under £5.
  • If you have a small sun-trap of a garden, try to give your dog a cool spot to relax. This doesn’t have to be anything expensive – just a well placed garden chair with a towel over it will provide some shade for smaller dogs.
  • We’ve already mentioned that dogs shouldn’t be left in a parked car.  But the heat can be unbearable for them (and you) when getting back into a hot car after a day out.  So try to park in a shaded spot – or better yet, buy one of our popular reflective car sheets to help keep the interior cooler.
  • reflecto sheet on car

 

  • It’s multi-use and makes a great picnic rug/waterproof groundsheet too. Check out just some of its other uses here.
  • Don’t over-do it on hot days. Dogs love to walk but they can easily overheat and become dehydrated in very hot weather. If you want a long walk, make sure there are shady places to rest along the way (or plan your walk to pass a country pub where you can enjoy some refreshment too!)

Dark coloured dogs feel the heat even more since their coats don’t reflect the sun as well as white haired dogs. All dogs will benefit from our reflective cooler coat  in direct sunlight and it also helps to avoid coat discolouration. Doubles as a light raincoat (always useful for a British summer!).

Sun reflective Cooler coat - from £23.50.

Sun reflective Cooler coat – from £23.50.

 

On warm days, you can help your dog to stay cool with our budget Wet Wrap coat which can be soaked in water and then put over your dog to provide cooling through evaporation for 1-2 hours depending on temperature and activity. It can also be used as a handy towel on days out.

The wet wrap - soak in water to provide cooling for your dog on hot days. From £18.50

The wet wrap – soak in water to provide cooling for your dog on hot days. From £18.50

So, do you know enough about dogs in cars to keep your dog safe in summer?  See how you get on with this quiz.

And remember, if you have any tricks of your own to cool down your furry friend  we’d love to hear them 🙂