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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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 🙂

A cure for dogs with a tear-stained face? New trial underway

Light coloured dogs in particular can have unsightly “tear-staining” and over the years, owners and breeders have tried many different products in a bid to reduce it.

If your dog suffers from tear staining, you might want to take part in a new trial being run by manufacturer, Dog Rocks.

The company sells a special product (rocks!) which can reduce burn marks on your lawn from dog urine – but it says some owners have told them their dog’s tear stains have improved after using Dog Rocks.

So it has launched a trial to find out if this is actually the case and is looking for tear stained dogs to take part.

Carina Evans from Dog Rocks, says: “We now have strong reason to believe Dog Rocks also alleviate tear stains but we now need solid evidence so we are asking pet parents with dogs to take part in our trial.”

Owners taking part in the trial will need to email a picture of their pet suffering from tear stain and provide a little information about the dog’s breed, diet and lifestyle.

If you would like to take part, you need to email Dog Rocks ( info@dogrocks.co.uk ) or you can call them on 01628 822243.

If you already have a home grown remedy for tear stains, then let us know –  we would love to hear about it!  Leave a comment at the bottom of this article or email us ( sales@countrymun.com )

* Don’t forget – dogs can get very hot in the sun – our reflective Cooler coat or Wet Wrap can help to cool them down. See our sun products – including the popular vehicle reflective sheet – here.

 

Sign the petition – and spread the word!

Following our last post which warned that thousands of dogs and cats have been poisoned by drinking anti-freeze (it tastes sweet), it seems there is a petition calling for anti-freeze to have a bitterant added so that it does not taste good.  If this is done, then many dogs and cats will be saved from an appalling death.

So, please follow the link to sign the petition calling for anti-freeze have a bitterant added – and share it with all your Facebook or Twitter contacts.

Click here to sign the petition.  If you want to find out more, you can go to the campaign’s website: bluedeath (antifreeze kills) where there are some heartbreaking stories of pets who died from antifreeze poisoning plus details of how you can help the campaign.

If everyone spreads the word, hopefully we can protect some pets from dying this winter while working on getting the bitterant added in the future.  There are still many people who don’t realise how lethal antifreeze is.  Any small spills should be properly cleaned up to protect both pets and toddlers and antifreeze should be locked away securely – like all poisons.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Dog

Most of us can’t wait for summer and warmer weather, but few dogs are sun-worshippers.  On really hot days, your dog needs extra care so make sure you follow our tips to avoid having an unwelcome hot dog in the summer.

Everyone by now should know not to leave their pets in a hot car during the summer – but many don’t realise just how quickly a dog can overheat. You should never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle. Even if you park in what seems like a shaded spot, the angle of the sun changes fairly quickly.

University studies have shown that opening the windows a little  does not stop the inside of a car from becoming an oven within just a few minutes.

reflecto sheet on car

Our Reflecto sheet keeps temperatures down inside your vehicle. Larger sheets are also made to order.

If you must leave your dog in the car, do not leave it unsupervised. Don’t leave them attached to a harness/seat belt  – which prevents them from moving to the coolest spot in the vehicle.  It’s also worth thinking about our Reflecto car sheet – it covers your parked vehicle and helps to keep the interior much cooler. (It’s great for people too – saves returning to a car with red hot seats and has a wide range of uses.)  We can also make reflective cage/crate covers to help to keep dogs cool in a moving car.

Next – think about how much more you drink in warmer weather and make sure that you check and top up your dog’s drinking water regularly.  If you are going for a walk, it’s worth taking a doggie water bottle with you to provide a drink.

Summer Exercise

Although many people head to the beach at the first sign of sun, your dog would probably much prefer a stroll through a forest or wooded area where there is some shade from the sun.

If you have an elderly or infirm dog, then you are best taking walks early or late in the day to avoid the hot sun. Indoors, they will appreciate air-conditioning or a fan.  Dogs prone to heatstroke should have shorter bouts of exercise.  If your dog likes water then you can fill a shallow child’s plastic paddling pool with cool water so he can have a paddle – or even lie down in it.

Dogs can’t sweat in the way we do – apart from a little sweating through the paws. They pant to reduce their body heat but if it is very hot, that isn’t enough to prevent over-heating.

Don’t overdo it

If you are planning to take your dog over hills or across rough terrain, remember that the extra exertion will make him/her even more prone to heatstroke.  Dogs are also more prone to injury on rough ground so you might want to invest in a pair of stopper pad protectors which help to prevent torn stopper pads on the backs of their front legs. Some owners also use them as joint supports for dogs with arthritis and other joint conditions.

Long/heavy-coated dogs will appreciate being clipped for the summer – but DON’T be tempted to shave your dog.  Dogs can get sunburn too and their coat provides some protection.  Remember that some breeds, such as pug, are much more prone to overheating and need special care in hot weather. Flat-faced dogs can’t pant as effectively as others.

If you do use sunscreen on your pet, make sure it is specially formulated for animals.

Watch out for Windows

Most of the year in Britain, our windows remain firmly closed but in summer people tend to open bedroom and balcony windows to let in a breeze.  Every year, dogs are injured or die because they are not aware of the danger and can fall from height.  If you keep upstairs windows open, then close the door so pets can’t get into the room unsupervised.

Water Dangers

Lots of dogs love to swim – but many are not brilliant swimmers and can get into trouble in fast-moving rivers or the sea. Unless you know that your pooch is an accomplished swimmer, use a doggie lifejacket –

this one from RuffWear

floatcoat both

Dogs should always wear a lifejacket in the sea or any deep water. This K9 floatcoat from RuffWear has a handy grab handle.

has a grab handle to assist in the case of problems. Alternatively, a doggie wetsuit aids buoyancy and can prevent some “snagging” injuries from branches underwater.

Hot Pavements

You’ve probably tried to walk on very hot sand on holiday. Remember, how painful it was?  Well, dog paws can get easily burned on hot asphalt – so try to avoid it on their walks at hot times of the day.

People Parties

It might not sound an obvious topic to include in an article on dogs, but many accompany their owners to barbecues and parties during the summer.  Some human food is poisonous to dogs, along with alcohol, so make sure they aren’t allowed to roam free and accept unsuitable treats from other party guests.

Finally, why not treat your dog to one of our cooling coats?

Keeping Cool - protect your dog from the sun!

Keeping Cool – protect your dog from the sun!

We make  the Cooler coat – a reflective tabard to reduce overheating and it is multi-use. As well as reflecting the sun, it is waterproof and in winter can be turned inside-out to keep the heat in!

Or how about a wet wrap?  Simply soak this single-layer light towelling coat and wring out and then put over your dog to help them to stay cool when out and about.

lurcher in wet wrap

Keeping cool in our wet wrap

However you spend your summer, make sure you and your dog enjoy the good weather while it lasts and that you don’t need to make unscheduled trips to the vet!