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Alabama Rot - What is it?

Keri Squibb

I heard today there has been another case of this awful, and often fatal illness in Dorset, my home county. I know a little bit about it having done some reading over the last year or two and now seems to be as good a time as any for a recap.

This disease has no boundaries within the doggy world. Size or breed are irrelevant. It strikes hard and fast unless identified early.

Its cause is unknown for sure although it is thought that the culprit may well be mud related. The best advice therefore is always wash your dogs off, but also it is vital that you know and look out for the symptoms as failure to identify early can lead to sudden kidney failure. The larger percentage of cases appear to occur within the winter months and more often in dogs walked in woodland areas. But this is not a given fact, summer cases have occurred too.

Look out for sores, ulcers or lesions on your dogs legs, paws, face or muzzle. They can also occur on the tongue or lower body. These sores may well look unusual to a vet so its always worth a check if in doubt.

Images of the lesions are readily available on the internet and are well worth a look.


Additionally be aware of the symptoms of kidney failure - loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting. The average time delay between the onset of skin lesions and kidney failure is just 3 days.. but it can be up to 10 days.  The disease always manifests itself with skin sores and lesions first, daily checking can be a lifesaver.

There is no vaccination against Alabama Rot and no guaranteed method to avoid it.

It is not always fatal though.. good hygiene and observations of your dog can go a long way to helping identify any issues in time.



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