What is Alabama Rot and should I be worried?

Many dog owners will have heard about Alabama Rot in the media this week and the worrying news that it is killing our dogs out on their usual walks.  To put your mind at rest this is a recent development in the investigation of something known as Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI) that we have been reporting for some time now (link to our blog from October 2012). SCI was first diagnosed in the UK in 2010 and has been found only in very localised areas.  We have had one confirmed case in Surrey.  Other affected areas include the New Forest and areas in Nottinghamshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.  The Animal Health Trust have been investigating in conjunction with Anderson Moores a referral centre in Hampshire.  Both of their websites (highlighted here) will give you further information on all the hard work they are doing to try and diagnose this disease and thus prevent further problems. Affected dogs have all initially presented with a skin wound or ulcer of unknown origin on their skin and have gone on to develop clinical signs of kidney failure which include lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea.  For a full list of clinical signs have a look here. Cases have been sporadic with the last two occurring in November 2013 and before that no new cases had been reported since March 2013. The recent media frenzy is related to new evidence that indicates there is a possible link to damage caused by an E coli toxin (shiga toxin) found in a condition called Alabama Rot in the USA – both diseases show similar skin and renal tissue damage to the blood vessels (vasculopathy).   However in the UK as yet E coli (a bacteria) has not been cultured in any of the affected dogs. As always we are always here for advice if  you are worried but we would recommend that you continue to walk your dog as normal at this point.  If your dog has an upset stomach, is vomiting and off their food or has lethargy and diarrhoea especially if they also have any skin wounds then contact the surgery immediately on 01483 455355. With ongoing studies we will also keep you up to date on any further developments in the fight against this disease.  To subscribe to this blog just click on the RSS orange sign at the top of the blog home page.