A new warning has been issued to UK pet owners after reports of a deadly disease affecting the lives of dogs in parts of southern England.
Two more cases of Alabama Rot – which affects dogs’ skin and can cause kidney failure – have been confirmed following the deaths of two dogs in Exeter and Horsham.
Vets are urging dog owners to be vigilant and to seek advice if their four-legged friend develops any unexplained skin lesions.
Otherwise known as CRGV, the illness can be lethal for nine out of 10 dogs who catch it and affects all breeds of dog.
Alabama Rot first appeared in Britain six years ago and has since taken the lives of dozens of canines across the country.
So far this year there have been 43 cases of the disease, bringing the total since 2012 to 166.
According to the Mirror most cases started in the south, particularly the New Forest, but there have now been dog deaths across the county.
What is Alabama Rot and how dangerous is it?
Alabama Rot was first identified during the 1980s in the USA in greyhounds.
Since then it has spread to England over the past few years, affecting all breeds no matter the age, weight or size. It is believed the disease may thrive in cold, wet soil as it commonly occurs after dogs come into contact with damp and muddy conditions.
Vets advise that owners wash their pets after damp, muddy walks.
The disease can lead to the rotting of a dog’s flesh, kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting.
If the disease isn’t treated quickly, dogs can be overcome with a raging fever that can consequently lead to death.
Vets4Pets, an online search site that helps locate veterinary practices, has an up-to-date map which help owners track the spread of the disease and how many cases there have been in their local area.
The site also gives owners advice and help from expert vets on what can be done to tackle the disease.
What are the symptoms?
Initial symptoms include lesions or ulcers on the skin. These could appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or as an open ulcer.
Such sores or ulcers are most commonly found on the paws or legs, but they can also be found on the face, mouth or tongue, or lower body – as long as these aren’t caused by an injury.
This abnormality in the tissue of an organism begins as a slow-healing ulcer.
Within two to seven days dogs will start to show outward signs of kidney failure, which include loss of appetite, unusual tiredness and vomiting.
Chances of recovery are highest when the disease is caught early and treated by a vet.
What are the ways to avoid it?
There are a number of ways that can help prevent dogs from being affected.
• Check the dog’s body regularly, at least once a day, for lumps and sores or anything that looks out of the ordinary.
• Avoid going for walks in muddy, wooded areas, especially if there has been recent rainfall.
• Make sure to wash the dog’s paws and legs thoroughly when back home if the dog has gone through any mud or water.
• If in doubt, give a vet a call or book an appointment.
But remember the cause is still unknown, so there isn’t any guaranteed way of preventing dogs from contracting the disease.
Can it be treated?
No cure or vaccination has been discovered for the disease yet.
However, there have been some cases where dogs have been able to fight off the disease and go on with minimal damage.
Sadly, most dogs who contract Alabama Rot tend to pass away as treatment is so limited. But some dogs in the UK have also been successfully treated in the years since 2013.
(Article source: Pets 4 Homes)