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

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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.