Alabama Rot: Warning to dog owners after pet dies of fatal disease - list of cases in Bristol, how to avoid it

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 Dog owners are being warned to keep an eye on their pets after the fatal illness killed a much-loved labrador.

An urgent warning has been sounded to Bristol dog owners over a life-threatening disease that killed a much-loved pet this week. Vets issued a statement urging people to look out for symptoms after a labrador died from contracting Alabama Rot, also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV).

The warning from Anderson Moores vets comes after a dog from Berkshire died after being diagnosed with the devastating disease. According to the RSPCA, Alabama Rot damages the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, which causes visible sores on the skin and can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

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According to experts, cases of the illness are rarer in summer months compared to colder months. Since December 2012, a small number of cases have been seen throughout the UK, with a few cases in Bristol reported.

Anderson Moores vet tracks reported cases of the disease and the UK has now seen 287 confirmed cases with eight cases in 2022. The map shows that there has been a case in Bristol city centre and Emerson’s Green over the past few years, as well as the rural area of Frome nearby.

James Walker, a vet at Anderson Moores, said: “We’re incredibly sorry to have to confirm Grace was a victim of CRGV. We have been at the forefront of research into CRGV for almost a decade and have witnessed first-hand the often-devastating effects of the disease.

“Treatment largely revolves around the management of the sudden onset of kidney failure and, sadly, with our current understanding of the disease, is only successful in around 10% of cases. We’re advising owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”

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Alabama Rot symptoms to look out for

There are some key symptoms to look out for which the RSPCA detail on its website. These are two typical signs:

  • Skin sores, visible swelling, red patches or skin defects not caused by a known injury. These skin lesions typically appear below the knee or elbow, and occasionally on the face or at the bottom of the chest or abdomen.
  • Changes in appetite - reduced appetite, drinking more, vomiting and lethargy are signs of acute kidney injury.

As the cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown, experts have difficulty giving tips to avoid cases of the disease. However, washing the mud off your dog after a walk is thought to help ward off cases, especially if your dog has been walking through woodland.

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