Alabama Rot is on the rise in the UK – But do you know what you are looking for?
To give you a brief overview, Alabama Rot is a fatal fungal disease which is seemingly becoming more and more apparent across the UK, with 78 confirmed cases in the last four years and 14 recorded cases in the first four months of this year.
Albeit a rare disease for dogs to contract, the cause remains unknown and the treatment for the illness is considered, in most cases, ineffective.
Regardless of how rare the disease is, for those who own, care or walk a dog you should be able to recognise the symptoms so that you are able to catch the disease in the early stages and do something about it with your local vet.
If your usually high maintenance, excitable and generally very happy pooch is uncharacteristically sluggish, quiet and uninterested then you may want to investigate.
The cause of this change in temperament could be anything from tiredness to something out of the ordinary that they may have sneakily tucked into. However, it is worth looking into as one of the first signs of Alabama Rot and any other disease is a change in behavior, and although vague, it may in the long run be worth raising with a veterinary professional.
When you are spending lots of time around your dog you tend to pick up their unusual habits relatively quickly. It may not be a surprising sight to you on occasion to see them chomping back the grass on one of your famous walks across the countryside either. However, if you think this explains your dog’s vomiting then unfortunately it does not. Grass eating doesn’t usually lead to throwing up, with only a small minority of under 25% of dogs that will. Later stages of Alabama Rot features vomiting as one of its main symptoms, as does Kidney failure. If this continues for a further 24 hours, veterinary assistance will be a requirement.
3. LOSS OF APPETITE
A reduced appetite is always a warning sign for any dog, but if you have any concerns that they may be contracting Alabama Rot, lack of hunger is definitely worth flagging up at your local vets. If they cannot be coaxed with their favourite treat and they aren’t usually a fussy eater and this behavior continues to display over a 24-hour period, veterinary attention will be necessary.
4. SKIN LESIONS
The most common symptom of this disease are skin lesions. Dog’s with Alabama Rot will have skin lesions which frequently progress into ulcers, which can be found in your dog’s mouth, on their elbows, back legs, face or paws. You may not notice these signs at first if you own a long-haired breed of dog; so make sure to keep an eye on your dog profusely licking at one area. The size of these lesions can range anywhere between 0.5 cm to 5cm and once they do appear make sure they are kept clean from any bacteria and free of any pressure. It is worth raising the question with your vet if it would be possible to apply a hydro active wound dressing, which will mold to the sore and keep the area moist without additional intervention.
If you have noticed a discoloration in your dog’s eyes, gums or nostrils which appears to be yellowish tinged, it may be the case that your dog is suffering from jaundice. This is when the amount of bilirubin produced in the body exceeds the liver’s—and to a lesser extent, the kidneys’—ability to excrete it.
Alabama Rot produces excess bilirubin which interferes with a dog’s metabolism and its ability to excrete urine, and this is what produces the characteristics of jaundice.
Routine checks up will help prevent jaundice, but, it is a symptom of other diseases, so make sure to keep a handle on your dog’s health and know what you are looking for!
For more information on the disease visit this guide