Warning to pet owners as flesh-eating Alabama Rot disease claims more victims

A flesh-devouring disease has claimed the lives of two more dogs this year, taking the total toll to five. The latest cases of Alabama Rot were in Bristol and Devon, although pet owners across the nation are being warned about the horrifying condition with a suspected case also previously confirmed in County Durham. Cases of the devastating disease are most commonly identified at this time of the year, and while owners have been advised to stay vigilant, the condition is rare – Bristol Live reports

Research into the affliction has been lead by a veterinary referral centre in Hampshire over the course of the last ten years, collecting information and reports from confirmed cases across the nation – Wales Online reports. : ‘You shouldn’t walk your dog every day’ expert dog trainer reveals Alabama Rot, also known as Cutaneous Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy, is a condition that causes damage to the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys and can lead to skin ulcers and kidney failure.

The illness seems to affect dogs which have been walked in muddy, woodland areas, and first appeared among Greyhounds in Alabama, USA in the 1980s. The disease results in kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting – but it can only be diagnosed post-mortem. David Walker, RCVS and EBVS European specialist in small animal internal medicine, leads the team at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester.

He said: “We’re very sad to confirm two further cases of CRGV. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the time of year when cases are most commonly identified. “It is understandably worrying for dog owners; however, I must stress this disease is still very rare.

We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and to seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”

Dylan from Seaham’s owner drove him all the way to London so he could receive life-saving treatment after contracting the disease.

The disease, which originally appeared in the late 1980s, was first detected in the UK in 2012. It affects the kidneys and has a 90 per cent mortality rate. The two new confirmed cases follow 28 throughout 2021 and 47 in 2020, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 284.

While Alabama Rot is often fatal, Mr Walker said the best chance of recovery probably lies with early and intensive veterinary care which may be best provided at a specialist facility. He said: “We have been at the forefront of research into CRGV for almost a decade and have witnessed first-hand the often-devastating effects of the disease. “Treatment largely revolves around intensive management of the sudden onset kidney failure and, sadly, with our current understanding of the disease, is only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.”

If you think your dog may have contracted CRGV, or you want to look out for the possible symptoms, these are the key signs of the disease.

Alabama Rot signs
  • Skin lesions – These will often appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or open and ulcer like.

    They can often be found on the face, belly and legs of the dog.

  • Sore skin – Skin sores that haven’t been caused by any known injury commonly found below the elbow or knee could well be a sign of your dog having the disease.
  • Kidney failure – Within 2-7 days of contracting CRGV there will often be outward signs of kidney failure, including vomiting, reduced hunger and unusual tiredness.

To view Anderson Moores’ new dedicated CRGV website, which includes a nationwide live map of cases, visit here.