If you have a dog you may want to avoid muddy areas for a little while. Alabama Rot or CRBV is a disease that causes blood clots to form that can cause ulcer like sores and cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys and skin
Alabama Rot, or CRBV, was first detected amongst greyhounds in Alabama in the 1980s. After a short lived flare up, the number of cases declined and no clinical research was carried out. As a result the cause of Alabama Rot is unknown and can only be diagnosed as collection of clinical symptoms.
Alabama Rot first appeared in the UK in 2012 has seen the number of cases rise from 19 cases in 2016 to 40 in 2017, with 29 cases already identified this year.
While the chances of contracting Alabama Rot are extremely low, the disease has a very high mortality rate.
Preventing Alabama Rot
The cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown. In contrast to the cases of Alabama Rot that presented in Greyhounds in the US, the UK version doesn’t seem to target a specific breed, age, weight or sex of dog.
Some dogs who live in close proximity have become infected, however it is not clear whether they were infected by each other or whether they simply share and environment and lifestyle.
There is some suggestion that Alabama Rot can be picked up on a dogs legs and paws after muddy walks. It is advised to avoid walking through muddy areas and wash your dog thoroughly after walks and regularly check for symptoms.
The vetsforpets website is currently tracking the Alabama Rot and they have created an interactive map to show areas where cases have been reported, which can be found here.
There have so far been no examples of a human contracting the disease.
Symptoms of Alabama Rot
The first symptom of Alabama Rot is the development of sores that typically form around the elbow and or knee of a dog and have no obvious cause. These sores have will appear as small ulcer like swellings that are red and open.
Within two to seven days the dog will begin vomiting and show signs of kidney failure including reduced appetite and unusual tiredness.
Without treatment, Alabama Rot can lead to a rampant fever and eventually death.
Treating Alabama Rot
These symptoms are not limited to Alabama Rot, but if symptoms begin to manifest the dog should be taken to the vet, who will determine what’s wrong and may offer a course of antibiotics.
While the chances of a dog catching Alabama Rot are extremely low, take reasonable precautions such as avoiding muddy areas, cleaning a pet, and checking regularly for symptoms as the disease has a very high mortality rate.