Alabama Rot

There has been significant media interest in the recent cases of dogs with idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, very similar to the disease termed ‘Alabama Rot’. At least 17 dogs have been known to have died from the disease since December 2012, 15 of those coming from the New Forest. The disease has also been suspected in Worcestershire, Cornwall, County Durham and Surrey.

The disease presents itself initially with skin lesions generally on the legs or muzzle, which look like red patches with hair loss or areas of ulceration. These are typical of a cutaneous vasculopathy where patches of skin die due to damage to the blood vessels in the skin; they are different to traumatic wounds sustained on a walk.

Affected dogs may then go on to develop signs of kidney failure within 2-7 days, which include lethargy, reduced appetite, vomiting and increased drinking and urination. In some patients there is also concurrent haemolytic anaemia (low red blood cell count) and thrombocytopaenia (low platelet count). Sadly the acute kidney failure has gone on to be fatal in some patients.

In some suspected cases, an early blood test may initially be normal, so it is advisable to follow it up 2-4 days later.

Cases reported in the New Forest were initially in the Ogdens area, but the two most recently reported cases were walked in the Tiptoe area and Wilverley enclosure. Owners are to be assured that this problem has affected a very small number of dogs and that most skin lesions will not be related to this disease.

If you have any questions about this disease or are worried that your dog may be displaying early symptoms please do not hesitate to contact us on 01628 622086.