Source: Independent (Extract)
Posted: November 26, 2023

A woman whose dog was put down after catching Alabama rot has called on pet owners to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of the disease.

Hannah Povey from Farringdon, Hampshire, issued the call after her cocker spaniel Besty caught the illness.

Alabama rot, otherwise known as cutaneous and renal gomerular vasculopathy, is a disease that affects canines, and its cause is unknown.

The condition, which is incurable, damages the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, causing visible sores on the skin and can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

It is unknown where Betsy, aged two when she died, caught Alabama rot, although Ms Povey believes the dog may have contracted it while walking in Park Wood, within the South Downs National Park.

She said the usually energetic Betsy started limping, went off her food and had a sore on her paw after the walk.

“I took her to the vets and blood tests didn’t come back with any results,” Ms Povey explained to the BBC.

“We went home with antibiotics and painkillers for her but she still wasn’t eating. We took her back to the vets but on Sunday we were told there was nothing more they could do and we were called in to say goodbye to her.”

Betsy’s body will now be used for research by Anderson Moores Vet, which confirmed the dog died from Alabama rot.

What are the symptoms?

  • Skin sores
  • Visible swelling
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drinking more
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy

Little is known about Alabama rot, although researchers believe that wet muddy conditions are somehow linked to what causes the disease.

Many of the dogs that have died from Alabama rot had been walking in muddy woodland areas during winter and spring months just before becoming ill.

The disease is a rare in the UK and is known to have affected 150 dogs in the UK between November 2012 and March 2018.

The Kennel Club said that reports of the disease “seem to be on the increase, which could be because more dogs are becoming affected, or because vets and owners are more aware of the condition”.

When Alabama rot was first noticed, most of the cases reported were around the New Forest area. Since then, affected dogs have been found throughout the UK.

The term “Alabama rot” was first used in the 1980s in reference to greyhounds that developed skin ulcers and kidney failure in the state of Alabama.