Dog owners across the South West are being warned to watch out for signs of Alabama Rot amid fears that the disease is spreading in the region – including five cases in Devon.
There have been confirmed cases reported in Torquay, Exminster, Axminster and two in Cullompton.
The disease CRGV, commonly known as Alabama Rot, is a nasty bug of unknown cause that affects all breeds of dog.
It can lead to a dog’s flesh rotting – resulting in kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting.
Without urgent treatment, dogs develop a raging fever and can eventually die.
Vets4Pets, an online search site that helps locate veterinary practices across the South West, has an online search tool to help owners track the spread of the disease.
The site also gives owners advice and help from expert vets on what can be done to tackle the disease.
Using data provided by Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, where you can enter in your postcode into a search, the service tells dog owners where the cases have been confirmed.
What is Alabama Rot?
CRGV, commonly known as Alabama Rot, is a dog disease of unknown cause that affects all breeds.
A total of 78 dogs have been confirmed with the disease in the UK since 2012, with 14 in the first four months of 2016.
The mysterious illness, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has been found in at least 27 counties in England and Wales since 2012.
“The cause of Alabama Rot, clinically known as idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), is still unknown and there is no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease,” said David Walker, from Anderson Moores Vetinary Specialists.
“While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, there is a very useful guide available online to help people understand where in the UK confirmed cases have been found and advice on how to spot signs.
“Any concerned dog owners should visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot“
How to avoid your dog getting Alabama Rot:
Avoid taking your dogs for walks in muddy wooded areas – particularly after a period of heavy rainfall.
Wash your dog’s paws and legs thoroughly when you get back from the walk.
What signs should dog owners look out for?
One of the most noticeable signs of the disease early in its onset is skin lesions.
This abnormality in the tissue of an organism begins as a slow-healing ulcer.
Owners who spot wounds or lesions to the limbs of their pet, or on their dog’s face, that appear to take a long time to heal, should make a prompt visit to the vet.
Dogs can also appear to become ‘depressed’ with a loss of appetite and they may start to vomit.
This can lead to acute injury to the kidneys.
To help collate correct data for dog owners, Anderson Moores is calling for all UK vets to contact them if they see a dog they suspect has Alabama Rot.
“Only tests on a kidney from an affected dog, most likely post mortem, will give 100 per cent confirmation of the disease,” added David.
“There have been a number of cases ‘confirmed’ by vets, but unless we carry out analysis of the affected pet, we will never be able to confirm the disease.”