Look After Your Dogs! The Dangers of Alabama Rot
Dog owners across the UK are being warned to stay vigilant after cases of the deadly fungal infection were reported in both Wigan and Wimbledon at the end of April. Julie Rothwell, 54, sadly lost her terrier Bradley after he contracted the infection during a walk on disused railway tracks near her home, in Tyldesley. The other case, reported in south-west London, was sadly also fatal and follows reports by park rangers on Wimbledon and Putney Commons of a similar incident earlier in April. There are now thought to have been over thirteen reported cases of Alabama Rot in the United Kingdom since 2012.
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot is actually something called CRGV, cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy. It’s a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney.
CRGV causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels, which then blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue.
It was first recognised in 1985, when a large number of greyhounds were affected at the Greenetrack Racing Park in Entaw, Alabama.
It was first reported in the UK in December 2012 in Hampshire. Since then there have been further reports of cases in Dorset, Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire, County Durham, Monmouthshire, North Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Greater London.
It is still unknown what actually causes Alabama Rot but it is thought to be picked up on dogs’ legs and paws on muddy walks through woodlands.
What are the Symptoms?
It causes lesions or wounds on the skin and occasionally in the mouth which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings.
Over the following week, or sooner, affected dogs may exhibit symptoms such as lethargy, a reduced appetite and subsequently vomiting.
The condition can more often than not be fatal and renal failure can develop within 24-48 hours of the lesions appearing on the skin.
One of the more worrying aspects of Alabama Rot is that it doesn’t affect any particular breed of dog. It is just as deadly to all breeds.
How Can it be Treated and Prevented?
Because the disease acts so fast, there is not a great deal that can be done if your dog contracts Alabama Rot.
If your dog should contract it, fast treatment is the key to successful recovery. You should take your animal to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.
Treatment once the condition has been identified involves renal support, and potentially haemodialysis, to process the toxins in the dog’s body when the kidneys are unable to.
The best cure is prevention. Avoid the areas in question, check out local council websites, and if you do go for a walk in muddy woodland, make sure you thoroughly wash and shampoo your dog upon your return.
Alabama Rot does not appear to be transmissible from dog to dog, so you don’t have to stop your pet from playing with his canine buddies.
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