Dog owners in the UK are being warned about an outbreak of a flesh-eating disease known as Alabama Rot.
The disease can affect any breed of dog at any age – and the disease thrives in cold, wet and wintry weather when the ground is sodden.
As Metro reports, there have already been five dogs in the UK who’ve passed away from contracting the disease.
Veterinary practice, Anderson Moores, confirmed that two of the dogs died near Horsham in West Sussex, while the others were divided between Malmesbury, Wiltshire and Hungerford, Berkshire.
The UK’s leading expert on Alabama Rot, David Walker has issued the following warning:
“We are now in the time of year when cases are most common. Further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners, however, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”
Alabama Rot is also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy. The disease is caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney which then causes tiny blood clots to form inside the blood vessels – blocking them and leading to damage to the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney, it can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.
At the moment the cause remains under investigation and unfortunately, there isn’t much advice about prevention and keeping your pet from picking up the disease.
The website for Anderson Moores suggests bathing your dog after they get wet or muddy on a walk – but the benefits aren’t well known.
Symptoms of your dog having Alabama Rot that you should watch out for is redness, sores or swelling of the skin – particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth.
While Alabama Rot can be very serious, Anderson Moores confirms the number of dogs affected with skin lesions and kidney failure remains low – with only 122 cases across the UK between November 2012 and January 2018.
So, if you’re a UK dog owner, just keep an eye out this winter season.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.
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