What Does Alabama Rot look like?

What is Alabama Rot? 

Alabama Rot, otherwise known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy is a very rare but potentially life-threatening disease. The cause of Alabama rot is not known but it is believed to be linked to wet and muddy conditions. 

It was first identified in the United States in the 1980s, hence the name and it affects dogs by causing damage to their skin and kidney’s blood vessels. 

When the kidneys became affected, it can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure. 

Dog owners should try not to panic as whilst it is often a fatal disease the number of cases reported in the UK are very limited and equates to approximately 1 in a million dogs.  

It is a disease that can affect any breed of dog, age or gender. 

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot in dogs? 

Early signs of Alabama Rot are painful skin lesions, sores and ulcers, usually around the paws and lower legs; they can also appear on the dog’s muzzle, mouth, tongue and lower body. 

The lesions tend to be approximately 1-4cm in size and are most found below the knee or elbow and look in appearance like an ulcer. 

Dogs that have been affected can go on to show signs of kidney damage through vomiting and being lethargic which is why it is important that you contact your vet as soon as possible if you dog displays some of these signs.  

How do you diagnose Alabama Rot? 

Alabama Rot can only be diagnosed by a vet through running several tests on a dog including blood tests to measure kidney function and by assessing the dog’s overall health and symptoms. 

How do dogs catch it? 

The exact cause of Alabama rot is not known however there is reason to believe from information provided by researchers that it is linked to wet and muddy conditions. 

Is Alabama Rot contagious, can dogs pass it on? 

Based on significant research to date there is no reason to believe that Alabama Rot is contagious to other dogs. 

How can I prevent the disease? 

As very little is known about Alabama Rot the general advice given is to avoid muddy walks or alternatively to wash down your down after they have been in the mud.

We like to apply Oil4Dogs all over the dog’s body before going for a walk to add a natural protective barrier to the skin and thereafter washing the dogs and spraying them with them Leucillin, paying special attention to legs and stomach. 

Leucillin kills 99.99999% of germs and is the most powerful, non-toxic, non-irritant pet antiseptic available which is why we recommend it as a staple item in every dog owner’s first aid kit. 

Also, we recommend becoming very familiar with your dog’s body by giving them a head to tail check every day so you will quickly spot any abnormalities.  

Can Alabama Rot be cured? 

Unfortunately, most dogs that catch Alabama Rot don’t survive. It can also kill dogs within a week so catching it early is vital. Usually, dogs will start showing signs of kidney failure within 3 days of contracting the deadly disease according to the Medivet website. 

Important to mention however that in August 2018, the Royal Veterinary College announced a breakthrough treatment called plasmapheresis. The treatment looks to filter the blood of toxins before returning it back into the body. Out of six affected dogs that received this new treatment, two made a full recovery, making it the first time that severely affected dogs survived the disease. 

We can only hope that science will continue to make further breakthroughs with this awful disease in time.  

If for any reason you are concerned that your dog may be showing the signs of Alabama Rot please immediately contact your vet.  


Confirmed Cases Map:  

Alabama Rot first appeared in the UK around the New Forrest and since 2012 only 241 confirmed cases have since been confirmed. 

Vets4Pets have also brought out a helpful map where you can search for confirmed cases within 20 miles of your postcode.  

Click here to access the map:


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