“Alabama rot” (idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy) is a very rare, but potentially fatal disease of dogs. It has been recognised in the UK since 2012, with most cases occurring in the New Forest, Hampshire. Any age or breed of dog can be affected.
Unfortunately we still don’t know what causes Alabama rot, but it does seem to be seasonal with most cases occurring from November to April. There have been several confirmed cases in the past month, including one in a dog from Torquay.
The first signs of the disease are usually a skin sore, normally on the lower leg. The sore may be a distinct swelling, patch of red skin or an open, ulcer-type lesion. Within 2-7 days signs of kidney failure begin in some cases, which may include vomiting, lethargy and inappetence. If the kidneys are involved, the disease is sadly fatal in the majority of cases.
It is thought the disease is picked up when legs and feet get muddy on walks. Although we still don’t know the actual cause, it has been recommended to wash mud off your dog’s legs after a walk, especially if the walk was in woodland. The best advice is to get your dog checked by a vet if you notice any of the reported signs.