Alabama Rot victims showing the sores that are first sign of disease (Image: Solent)
Vets today confirmed the new cases as the seasonal disease that begins with sores and leaves dog dying from kidney failure shows no signs of abating. Since the British first case was recorded in 2012, a total of 181 dogs have died from the disease known by vets as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV). There is still known cure for Alabama Rot – with vets warning that recognising symptoms and getting urgent treatment is the key to saving a pet’s life.
New figures released by Vets4Pets and Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists today show how confirmed cases have been reported from 38 counties since 2012. Last year saw a record number of 52 deaths, and this year’s toll is following following the same average trend of one fatality every week.
The new cases were in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire; Huddersfield West Yorkshire; St Austell, Cornwall and Chorley, Lancashire, locations in keeping with the east-west national divide incidence.
In a statement, Hampshire-based specialists Anderson Moores said: “Unfortunately, we have to confirm a further four cases of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, often termed CRGV and sometimes known as Alabama Rot.
“We are in the time of year when historically we have identified more cases of CRGV and although this disease remains rare, we continue to advise owners to be vigilant and to seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions or sores. Although an environmental trigger for this disease is possible, this has not been proven.”
On hot summer days, walk your dogs before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. — or walk them only in shady or grassy/dirt areas.
Map shows the east-west divide of Alabama Rot incidence (Image: Vets4Pets)
Tell-tale skin lesion that is the first sign of Alabama Rot (Image: : Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists)
Scientists believe the way the disease is evident during the winter months and centred on certain areas of the country will produce the vital evidence to help them establish its cause and also provide an eventual cure.
Vets4Pets have produced a UK map to outline the distribution of cases since the first report six years ago. It shows how the deaths are clustered around the Greater Manchester and Hampshire areas, with other concentrations along the Severn Valley and in Surrey. East Anglia and the North Sea coastal counties from North Yorkshire to Kent are virtually unscathed.
There is also a seasonal trend, with 70 per cent of cases happening during the period from December through to March.
The disease became known Alabama Rot after the first cases were noted among American greyhounds in the 1980s although it was another 30 years before it cross the Atlantic to the UK.
Spotting Alabama Rot signs and getting urgent care is essential for saving dogs (Image: GETTY)
Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, has been supporting research on the condition for a number of years and says recent findings may help provide a “stepping stone” to unravelling the cause of the disease.
He said: “We know how the disease presents and how it affects dogs internally, and this research adds some interesting information that may help to increase vets’ index of the suspicion for the disease. The information on climate and ground type will help us further explore possible triggers for the disease, but at the moment we can’t say if any breeds are more likely to develop the disease.
“However, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions. While this research may be a stepping stone to finding the cause of Alabama Rot, there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease.”
For help recognising some of the signs and to see a map of confirmed cases, please visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/ .
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