Deadly dog disease claims new victim: warning signs

Telltale reddening around the back leg of a dog with Alabama Rot
Telltale reddening around the back leg of a dog with Alabama Rot

Dog owners across the North West are being urged to take extra precautions when out walking their pets to help prevent the spread of deadly disease Alabama Rot.

The mysterious illness appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America and this weekend saw the 65th confirmed case of the disease in the UK since 2012 with the death of a dog in Preston, believed to have been walked in woods off Garstang Road.

Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists announced via their Facebook page that “one further dog has having died as a result of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy”.

The specialists say it is the 65th confirmed case of the disease - also known as Alabama Rot - in the UK since 2012.

They are waiting for information on where the dog was walked, but is believed to be from the Fulwood area.

A friend of the dog-owner claims the dog was walked in Highgate Woods off Garstang Road.

The disease in the UK does not seem to target any specific breed, age, sex or weight of dog

Experts

Dogs reported with Alabama Rot can suffer with kidney failure and/or skin lesions. It is believed to be caused by a rare form of E.coli.

After an outbreak of the disease in Wiltshire in December, owners were told not to walk their dogs in certain places.

“The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said Huw Stacey, head of clinical services at Vets4Pets.

“This is why we have produced an interactive guide - http://www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/ - which follows on from the feature on Alabama Rot in our 2014 Vets Report, that helps dog owners understand where in the UK confirmed cases have occurred, how to spot symptoms and tips on reducing the risk of infection.

“The concern among vets in the UK is that unlike the Alabama Rot that affected greyhounds in America, the disease in the UK does not seem to target any specific breed, age, sex or weight of dog.

The first sign normally seen is a skin sore that isn’t caused by a known injury. Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like

Vets4Pets is supporting the research work carried out by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and the Animal Health Trust to help understand the disease, how it can be treated and prevented.

Huw added: “If a dog becomes infected the best outcome will come from early and intensive veterinary care, which has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering.”

“Any dog owners who think their pet has Alabama Rot symptoms should contact their nearest vet immediately.

“This will help build knowledge about the spread of the disease and also give a dog the best chance of survival.”