Veterinarians have issued a warning to dog owners regarding the increasing cases of Alabama Rot, a deadly disease that has claimed the lives of hundreds of dogs in the UK. Anderson Moores Vets in Winchester has been studying and investigating this condition, scientifically known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), for over a decade. Although it is considered rare, the disease has claimed the lives of 318 dogs since 2012, with an additional 10 deaths reported this year. Owners are strongly advised to regularly inspect their pets for skin lesions and thoroughly wash them after walks, especially in muddy areas, to minimize the risk of the disease’s transmission.
Despite ongoing research, the exact cause of Alabama Rot remains unknown, though veterinarians suspect that it may be caused by either bacteria or a toxin. Unfortunately, the chances of survival are slim once a dog contracts the disease, with only a 10% success rate. Joshua Walker, a vet at Anderson Moores, revealed that the disease appears to be associated with increasing rainfall and rising temperatures in the autumn. It is speculated that the exceptionally wet and slightly warmer weather experienced in November might contribute to the recent surge in cases. Consequently, it is crucial for dog owners to stay informed about the signs and symptoms of Alabama Rot.
The disease generally manifests as skin lesions, which can be found on the limbs, chest, abdomen, or other areas of an affected dog’s body and often resemble bites, wounds, sores, or stings. In severe cases, kidney failure can develop, posing a life-threatening threat. Mr. Walker recommends rinsing off any mud on a dog’s body after walks as a precautionary measure, although it is still unclear if this can prevent the disease. He stressed the importance of promptly seeking veterinary care if an unexplained lesion is noticed, especially if the dog is displaying signs of illness. Research into the disease is ongoing, and experts hope to uncover its root cause.
Hannah Povey from Farringdon, Hampshire, whose dog was affected by Alabama Rot, has urged other dog owners to acquaint themselves with the symptoms of the disease. Although Alabama Rot can affect dogs of any age, sex, or breed, Labradors, spaniels, and Hungarian vizslas have reported higher incidences so far. The disease was initially discovered in the US during the late 1980s and primarily occurs in the UK during the winter months. To stay updated, you can follow BBC South on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
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