Alabama Rot UK Update 2024
Back in January 2014 warning signs were being put up in certain parts of the New Forest, Hampshire, after an illness was killing some of the dogs who have been walked there. In fact agencies and specialists had been trying since 2012 to find the cause of this mystery illness.
At the time, Veterinarian David Walker said the cases showed similarities to a disease called Alabama rot which had first been reported in the United States in the 1980s, but the cause of the UK cases didn't appear to be the same.
Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) AKA Alabama Rot hit the news again last week (10th February 2024) when figures released showed that this year has already seen 10 confirmed cases of the disease in the UK.
The Alabama Rot Research Fund have an online list of Alabama Rot Confirmed Cases and the page states:
"We can confirm, based on kidney analysis, another two cases for December 2023, and 10 cases for January 2024. Locations of confirmed cases include Surrey, Berkshire, Staffordshire, Buckinghamshire and Herefordshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and a case from London. The UK has now seen 318 confirmed cases, with 10 confirmed in 2024 so far."
What are the risks?
The RSPCA message hasn't changed from previous years when they urged dog owners not to panic as "the threat is very low".
"Thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day, and it's important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected."
However, it doesn't hurt to be aware of the disease and its symptoms.
What is Alabama rot?
The cause is still unknown but it appears to be related to wet, muddy walks and there is a possibility of a seasonal winter / spring connection. The RSPCA therefore recommends washing all mud off your dog after a wet and muddy walk, particularly if you have gone through woodland.
What are the symptoms of Alabama rot?
- Skin swelling, soreness, lesions
- Vomiting and reduced appetite
- Kidney failure
The cause is unknown so there is no specific treatment for the actual disease itself but it is still very important to take your dog to the vet if you suspect Alabama rot. Your vet can treat any skin lesions and can monitor your dog's kidney function. You may also need to get advice regarding any other pets in your household. Humans don't appear to be affected.
A number of possible preventative measures have been identified.
Dogs Trust advises:
- When walking your dog stay on dry paths. Avoid wet or muddy areas.
- Wash any mud off your dog after walks and dry them thoroughly.
- Check your dog regularly for lesions or wounds, especially ones that don't seem to heal.
- Visit your vet if your dog seems unwell, is lethargic, vomiting or refusing food.
What to do
If you notice a wound, lesion or blister on your dog's leg or face anywhere from 0 to 7 days after walking in the New Forest area or elsewhere, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Do not wait even a day or two to see if the wound heals naturally. Additionally, if your dog becomes quiet or depressed, starts vomiting or has a loss of appetite then seek veterinary advice.
Also, when on woodland walks, keep an eye on your dog at all times and particularly be aware of anything they may pick up, chew or eat.