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Protecting Your Dog from Alabama Rot

At Hey Diddle Diddle, pet health and nutrition is central to what we do, but we know that feeding your dog with high quality, natural ingredients is only part of caring for their wellbeing. As animal lovers, we also need to be vigilant to spot the signs of any illness or health-threatening condition and, during the current Alabama Rot outbreak in the UK, the need for vigilance has never been greater.

Known clinically as Idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy – or CRGV for short – Alabama Rot is known to have killed 37 dogs in the UK this year so far. Though the condition is considered very rare, it is fatal in 9 out of 10 cases and Alabama Rot has affected numerous UK locations in 2018 so it’s important for all dog owners to understand the risks and the symptoms.

The cause of Alabama Rot is unclear but dog owners are advised to avoid muddy woodland walks, particularly after periods of heavy rain, and to prevent their dogs from walking through muddy puddles. The disease is thought to be contracted through mud on the paws or legs and it’s important to wash these areas as soon as you return home if your dog’s legs are muddy following a walk or a run around outside.

Prevention in this way is the best defence but there are also a number of symptoms to watch out for and you should contact your vet as soon as possible if you recognise any of these. The symptoms include:

  • Skin lesions – these appear as a distinct swelling, a red patch, or ulcer-like sore. The lesions are usually small and circular and most commonly appear on the lower leg, below the knee.
  • Sore skin – any sore spots below the knee on a dog’s leg could be a sign of Alabama Rot on a dog that has not otherwise been injured.
  • Vomiting, reduced hunger and excessive tiredness are all common symptoms of the renal failure that results from contracting Alabama Rot. Kidney failure can begin as soon as two days after a dog contracts the condition.

While there is no cause for panic as Alabama Rot remains very rare, you should be mindful of the risks and check your dog for symptoms on a regular basis. And if you want to be part of the solution, you can donate towards research into the Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) at www.arrf.co.uk.