Alabama Rot, are our dogs safe?
This video shows our dogs last weekend enjoying a very muddy off lead walk on a dreary March day. It is one of my greatest pleasures to see dogs running free, getting dirty and enjoying total freedom. Unfortunately, this may be a thing of the past and the reason is the very real threat of the deadly disease Alabama Rot, which has spread to dogs throughout the UK.
A muddy walk in March, as you can see Luca loves to run in the puddles.
The Reason For This Post
Alabama Rot features heavily in UK newspapers recently. We need to know about this disease to keep our dogs safe, but every article shows graphic, distressing photographs of dogs with horrific lesions. For dog lovers like me, the pictures are just too much to bear and we can’t continue reading. This post educates without photographs.
This information is sourced from PDSA and can be viewed here
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot is a potentially fatal disease which damages dogs’ blood vessels. This can cause skin sores and sometimes goes on to cause kidney failure (when the kidneys stop working and can’t clean the blood properly).
The disease only affects dogs. It seems to be more common in spring and winter and is often reported in dogs that have been walked in a muddy or woodland area.
Signs and symptoms of Alabama Rot
Alabama Rot causes tiny clots to form in dogs’ blood vessels in their skin and kidneys. These clots can cause:
- ulcers and sores on the dog’s paws, legs, face or mouth
- kidney failure.
Symptoms of kidney failure include:
- being sick
- not wanting to eat
- lethargy (sleepiness and much less energy than usual).
If your dog seems under the weather and has any of these symptoms, speak to your vet right away.
Not all dogs who have skin sores go on to have kidney problems but early treatment by a vet is really important. If you notice any sores on your dog, speak to your vet immediately to rule out Alabama Rot.
How can I stop my dog getting Alabama Rot?
There’s been lots of research into Alabama Rot but vets still aren’t sure what causes the disease or how to prevent it. However, there are some simple things you can do that may protect your dog or help you spot the symptoms early:
- If Alabama Rot has been reported near you, avoid walking your dog in muddy woodland areas.
- Washing any mud off your dog after a walk might help, although this hasn’t been proven. It won’t harm your dog and might help keep your mind at ease if you’re worried about the disease.
- Check your dog after every walk for signs of redness or sores, especially on their paws, legs, and face.
If you notice any health problems with your dog or a change in their behaviour, speak to your vet.
Has this information changed how I walk my dogs?
It shows that there have been 8 cases of Alabama Rot within a 20-mile radius of my location.
For some dogs ( like Luca in the video) muddy puddles are a massive attraction, so dog boots may become a necessity. Darcy the miniature dachshund likes to avoid getting wet and prefers to stay clean and dry, which is lucky because I would struggle to find boots to fit his short legs.
More information on keeping dogs paws healthy can be found here.
Trixie Walker Care Protective Boots, Large, Black (Golden Retriever)
- Made of durable polyester
- With vinyl back and sole
- Support rapid healing of paw injuries
- Reduce the risk of infection
- With practical Velcro strap, with two Velcro straps from size M
- Colour: black
We purchased two pairs after reading the reviews on Amazon, the price in total for the Golden Retriever size was £15.98.
It was a two man job to get the boots on because the puppy was so excited, but they were a good fit and the velcro straps made them nicely secure.
We encouraged Luca to practice wearing them before he went on his walk. He is experiencing lots of new things at the moment so he wasn’t fazed by the boots at all, it may be different in an older dog.
The boots are durable and kept the feet dry, time will tell if they remain waterproof.
It’s great to remove the boots at the front door, no muddy paws all through the house.
I also found that the boots have non slip treads which makes them extra safe to use on slippery surfaces like laminate floors and icy footpaths.
Furthermore, if a dog has an injury the shoe will keep the wound clean and dry.
As always with my reviews, I will update if necessary.
If anyone has any experience of this terrible disease please leave a comment.
I will update this post if the veterinary advice changes.
Until then be vigilant everyone.
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