Alabama Rot

What is Alabama rot?

Alabama rot is a disease affecting dogs by causing damage to the skin and kidney's blood vessels. This can cause small blood clots to form resulting in blockages that can lead to damage of the affected tissue. This damage causes visible ulceration in the skin, but when the kidney is affected it can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

Alabama rot’s full, scientific name is cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV).

It was first identified in the USA in the 1980s

What causes Alabama rot?

The actual cause of Alabama rot is not known. Some reports in the US suggest it is linked to the bacteria E.coli, but there is no evidence for this in cases seen in the UK.

It can affect any dog of any breed, age, or size.

The majority of dogs who have been treated for Alabama rot in the UK have been walked in muddy and/or woodland areas.

More cases are reported between November and May than between June and October, which suggests the dogs are more likely to be affected in winter and spring.

What are the symptoms Alabama rot?

The first signs you may notice if your dog has contracted Alabama rot are lesions or ulcers on the skin. These could appear as a patch of red skin, or as an open ulcer or sore.

These sores are most commonly found on a dog’s paws or lower legs, but they can also be found on a dog’s face, mouth or tongue, or on their lower body.

Signs of kidney failure include loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting.

If your dog is showing signs of sore skin or ulcers on an area of their body that is close to the floor (and you know these have not been caused by an injury) it’s a good idea to contact your vet.

On average, dogs suffer from kidney failure about three days after lesions begin to show on the skin, however the time between sores appearing and kidney failure can be between one and 10 days.

The earlier this disease is caught and treated by a vet, the higher the chances of recovery.

How can I stop my dog getting Alabama rot?

The cause of Alabama rot is not known, so unfortunately there is no guaranteed way of preventing your dog from becoming affected. It is thought that there may be a link between walking dogs in muddy areas, so owners could

  • Try to avoid very muddy areas
  • Wash feet and legs after walks
  • Check your dog daily for  sores especially lower limbs

Dogs cannot be vaccinated against Alabama rot.

If you are in doubt, give us a call. It’s better to be safe than sorry

Follow the websites below for further information

Antifreeze poisoning in cats

Antifreeze is found in car radiators and some screen washes, but it is extremely toxic to cats.

Cats like drinking from ditches, puddles and ponds which means they’re prone to drinking water contaminated with antifreeze. Officially known as ethylene glycol, antifreeze is also found in some inks and snowglobes.

What are the symptoms of poisoning?

The active ingredient of antifreeze, ethylene glycol, is rapidly absorbed into the body after drinking. Within hours it causes severe kidney damage which is very difficult to treat. In one report involving 25 cases, 96% of those affected died. The first sign you see may be that your cat is very quiet and still, there may be vomiting and wobbliness or falling over as if drunk. This may progress to having a fit, and kidney pain as the kidneys start to fail. 

Why do cats like antifreeze?

Antifreeze is sweet, so cats like the taste. But a lethal dose is reported to be around 1 to 1.4 ml per kg of bodyweight. That means just one 5ml teaspoon could be enough to kill a cat

How to protect your cat from antifreeze poisoning?

If you are using antifreeze or any product containing ethylene glycol please be very careful where you store it. And if you spill any, clear it up straight away. If you have an ornamental garden pond, please don’t add antifreeze in the winter time. It may keep your fountains running in a cold snap, but it could put your cat’s life at risk.

What should I do if my cat has drunk antifreeze?

If you do suspect your cat has drunk antifreeze then you should call your vet or, If the cat is treated immediately after exposure it has a far greater chance of survival. Your cat will, however, need intensive treatment. Tragically, the survival rate is very low if the kidneys have been damaged and cats often have to be put to sleep.

Is there an alternative to antifreeze?

Antifreeze is one of the most life-threatening poisonings that vets see, but there is some hope as there is a safer alternative. Propylene glycol antifreeze is more expensive but safe for pets and other wildlife, so please, if you have a cat, consider using this instead.

How long do cats live after drinking antifreeze?

Prognosis depends on the amount consumed and how quickly treatment is administered. In a study of 213 cases with known outcomes — reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) — 197 proved fatal. Ethylene glycol is the fourth most common query the service receives on cat poisonings.


Other winter worries!

Ice, snow and grit

Check your pets paws regularly for any signs of injury. 

We occasionally see cases of frostbite, in ears and paws, and more regularly interdigital dermatitis, sore and irritated paws, as a result of irritation from salt and grit.

Road traffic accidents

We see a significant increase in road traffic accidents in the winter after the clocks have gone back — so try to ensure your cat is back safely in the house by the time darkness falls and rush hour begins.

 Remember also to microchip her. This will increase the chance of you being reunited should anything happen and ensure that you keep the contact details up to date with the chip database.

Exercise and obesity

With fewer daylight hours, and cold, wet weather you may find your pet does not exercise as much he does in the summer.  It’s a good idea to monitor his weight, and food intake, as you may need to reduce the amount of food you give your pet over the winter months.

Just like humans, obesity in pets is a growing problem and it can result in serious adverse health effects.  These include diabetes, liver disease and increased surgical and anaesthetic risk