Alabama Rot in 2024: Suspected causes of the dog disease, prevention, symptoms and treatment

If your dog is displaying symptoms of Alabama Rot it's important to get them to the vet as soon as possible.If your dog is displaying symptoms of Alabama Rot it's important to get them to the vet as soon as possible.
If your dog is displaying symptoms of Alabama Rot it's important to get them to the vet as soon as possible. | Canva/Getty Images
It’s a canine illness that’s on the increase in Britain - and can prove to be fatal.

Dog owners have been urgently warned about Alabama Rot as cases of the ‘flesh-eating’ disease continue to spike across the UK with no signs of slowing down.

To help out, veterinarian Dr Corinne Wigfall at Petsure has shared her expert tips on how to prevent the disease - plus, how you can spot symptoms quickly if you think your dog might have picked it up.  

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Dr Wigfall explained: “Alabama rot causes clots to form in small blood vessels. It starts as skin lesions and can tragically lead to kidney failure for some dogs.

“With cases of Alabama rot increasing in the UK, it’s crucial to be aware of the tell-tale signs. The disease can affect any dog, regardless of age or breed.”

Be mindful of where you walk your dog 

There is currently no confirmed research as to how Alabama rot picked up. Some researchers suggest it may be caused by bacteria like E.coli. Others report a link between dogs getting the disease and having recently been out in muddy woodland areas. 

Try to avoid walking your dog in wet, humid and muddy environments. If your dog has been rolling around in the woods, make sure you thoroughly clean and dry their coat. You can check recent reports and avoid the areas suffering the most from Alabama rot. 

Check your dog daily 

A lack of confirmed knowledge of the disease makes it tricky to give specific prevention advice. Sadly, there’s no vaccination available for Alabama rot. 

Make sure to check your pup daily for any lesions or bumps. Look for raised, circular sores and ulcers on the skin, as these are the main symptoms. Your dog’s face, legs, and paws are the most commonly affected body parts, so give those a thorough check. They might have a dark centre and bruises, so watch out for these too.

Watch your dog’s behaviour 

The earlier you catch wind of symptoms, the better. Other signs to watch out for are lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, increased urination, and, rarely, bodily stiffness. Get your dog checked by your vet if they’re acting differently or you spot something unusual.

Get treatment

If you think your dog might have Alabama rot, or you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms, take your pup to the vet straight away. If Alabama rot isn’t treated as soon as possible, it could reach the kidneys within a few days of skin lesions appearing. 

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The vet will ask questions about the symptoms you’ve noticed,  inspect the wounds, and take blood or urine samples. They may give your dog antibiotics to stop or treat an infection in the wounds. If the vet is concerned about possible kidney damage, intravenous fluids will be started straight away to help protect the kidneys. This means your pooch will need to stay at the veterinary clinic for treatment.

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