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Alabama Rot and Dogs: Flesh Eating Disease for your Furr-Babies




This was just brought to my attention yesterday by a visitor to this very site. She asked if where I lived if we were having this Amazon Rot outbreak like many other places. “Amazon rot?” I inquired, sounded like a bad bar night somewhere in South America to me. She had stated that it was becoming a really serious event in her homeland of theConfirmed deaths in UK from 2012-2016 UK. She also said that this could be something really great to write about and make people who have their lovable furr-babies aware of this horrible disease. There was my first indicator this was not good, it’s a disease, with a name like “Amazon rot” I immediately thought of some form or vegetation like grass or a plant. So, I thanked her for the great idea, I told her I would research Amazon Rot tonight and write an article warning my readers and their furr-babies of this disease in case they were like me and unaware of this epidemic happening around the world.


Alabama Rot or by its scientific name idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is an often fatal, flesh-eating disease found in of where Alabama Rot flourishes Alabama Rot was first found in the United States of America in the 1980’s in Greyhounds. CGRV, this I had heard about, so in fact, I did know what “Alabama Rot” was but I knew it as CRGV and that this stuff was really nasty. Majority of my family is located in the UK, Scotland, Ireland, Wales but most in England. In 2013, I received an email from my great-aunt who asked me if we were having this CGRV outbreak like the UK is the moment. I replied have heard of any so I Googled it and no such cases came up. As it sits it seems to be widespread across England and a few isolated cases in the USA. Our Canadian K-9 seem to be safe for the time being.


Besides, it has a 90% kill rate of dogs, the real scary thing be that the veterinary world doesn’t know what it is. Some vets theorize that it is a parasite while other vets say no, its bacterial in nature. The majority of the veterinary world and the UK Royal Veterinary College are seemingly agreed on these 2 facts. First, they now believe Alabama Rot come from toxins created by E-coli and secondly, the dogs that are found to have Alabama Rot have acquired it by walks in certain locations but are still unsure if it’s obtained by ingesting something or by physical contact. Either way, any furry friend diagnosed with Alabama Rot, the outcome is not good as no vaccine can be created when they don’t even know for sure what it really is which is why it carries such a high fatality rate. So what symptoms should you be watching for in your furr-baby? There are generally two stages to this horrible ailment. At first, inflamed and reddening of the skin as well as skin lesions that look like open sore wounds, almost ulcer in appearance and mostly found on the stomach, inside hind and front legs, jowls and snout. Dogs that have longer hair should be periodically inspected using latex gloves, you can never be too safe. That being said I would inspect the whole body to be sure. If any of the aforementioned has been found, contact your vet immediately and seek attention. If you happen to overlook these first signs, the second set of symptoms tend to be more characteristics or personality changes as they will become very lethargic, vomiting and loss of appetite. In case, you are unclear of knowing what “renal changes” are, it is basically the kidneys failing. If the urine becomes very dark yellow but your furry friend is drinking lots and staying hydrated, this would be a good time to again seek the advice of your vet. Blood or any other color of urine such as red, orange, blue, green, black or brown are all abnormal and should be seen by your vet immediately. On a positive note, 25% of dogs that have kidney failure will not progress into the mortality of the disease, that’s why it is of the most utmost importance to seek medical attention at the first sign of any symptoms so that it can be treated immediately not allowing the infection to take hold and stop the worst of this disease.


This is where our medical field has come into play and started a plan to eradicate this horrible disease. First, they know that this disease is not transferred from dog to dog, so there is no need to quarantine dogs. That’s great news if your furr-baby has a householdSymptoms of Alabama Rot playmate or a fellow friend at a dog park. The bad news be that another dog that is this close to your infected dog was most likely walked together. So the vets believe the dogs come into contact with the bacteria through certain decomposing plants or vegetation or by wading in rivers or stagnant water pools. There is also a difference between the USA outbreak that simply targeted the greyhound breeds as where the UK strain will target any breed of dog, not just greyhounds. Another puzzling fact be that the Alabama rot bacteria has no direct link to any strains of E-coli outbreaks in the UK which makes the understanding of how the disease spreads.


The best way to protect your dog is a 2 tier application. First, try to avoid new forest areas, like around new subdivisions and try to limit your dog from tearing in and out of piled vegetation. If your dog goes swimming try to keep it to well-moving bodies of water but not so much to endanger them from swimming. Wash off any mud, Muddy Lab puppyvegetation that may be stuck to your dog limiting any exposure to the bacteria if they happen to come in contact with it. Secondly, know your pooch. You know how they play, sleep, eat, walk, scratch, clean etc so keep an eye out for anything out of the norm. If you get into a routine of brushing them and inspecting them for any redness of skin, inflammation or skin lesions that look like sores or open wounds. Being proactive in your dogs’ health could be all that’s needed to prevent your furry loved one from having to be exposed to this sinister disease. If you have any concerns or think your pooch might have been exposed to Alabama Rot or CGRV, contact your vet immediately and schedule a visit right away. A urine culture could be of use as well although not the easiest of things to get from a dog.


This is very sad that this is happening no matter where it is. No one likes to see an animal suffer but when it’s a family member like a pet pooch, the emotion that grips you be that of a loss of a loved one. In most cases you have spent a decade with this individual, with great memories bad memories, funny memories, loved memories. They have protected you, help raise your children, comforted you through sickness, through a loss of a partner or loved one. You exercised together, swam together, shared a slice of pizza together, you spent countless hours and doggy treats to finally execute that play dead routine for all to see, they have made you laugh, they have made you mad but always made you feel loved unconditionally that one would have only thought of for another human being.

So, in the end, make sure you are looking out for your four-legged friend. Be sure to clean them up after long walks through mud and vegetation, inspect for any signs that could be worrisome and if you do find something, take action right away, do not wait and see. Most of these cases if not caught quick enough can be gone within 24 hours and you know, if the shoe was on the other paw, they surely wouldn’t wait to find out, so please return the favor and have your friend around for many years to come.  Keep your dogs happy, loved and healthy. If you have any experiences with Alabama Rot, please share your story, comment or if you have a question,Post that Lab survived Alabama Rot please scribble it in below. Your privacy means a lot to us as it should everyone, so your email will not be submitted, sold, displayed or shared for analytic purposes. Please share the knowledge. Yjanks for reading and we will see you next time with a “wee” training exercise.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I love dogs so much. I have a Coker Spaniel name Sparky and he’s 13 years old. He is everything to me. I literally went to his paws and all over his body just to see any dirty spots. It is sad how Alabama rot make dogs suffer like that and they cannot say a word except look at you. Dogs can really connect with people. They need to find better treatment to treat this. No dog should suffer under any circumstance. Thank you for info, spread the word!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment Johnathan. You are absolutely right, dogs have such a way of connecting with not only their handlers but others as well. My best dog to date was my American Staffordshire Terrier (A really big Pitbull) I worked very hard training her and got her papers to become a Compassion Companion, a service dog. People are floored when I tell them that she is a Pitbull type breed but I always side step that answer until our visits are done because of the horrible stigma people have of this breed. I would say 9 out of 10 people have no idea of what a American Staffordshire Terrier is. We would be visiting a retirement home and they would be laughing at her corny tricks she would perform and without me giving any commands, or we would be at a Sick Kids Hospital and the kids would be getting licked by her or getting pulled around by her on a rug (kids loved that game we would play) Then afterwards the nurses and doctors would come say hello and ask us to come again because of the happiness Jasmine (my Pitty) brought to everyone. I would reply, We would be honored, I love showing people this side of a Pitbull type breed. Their faces would drop, I would look at Jasmine and say, see again Jasmine, and she would cover her face with one paw. We were always welcome back many more times. 

      I am glad you checked your little for the lesions, that’s literally the best thing you can do for them Johnathan, be proactive. I am glad that my site could make you aware of this horrible disease, luckily though, as long as Sparky is not living in the UK, Sparky is safe as the strain of Alabama Rot in the UK is the only one attacking all breeds. The cases here in North America, although few and far between, are only attacking Greyhounds and Whippets but it does not mean we shouldn’t be pro active and still exam our furry friends. Till next time, you & Sparky take care.

  2. This is a devastating disease affecting our most loved companions. I first read, in shock, about Alabama Rot in another blog on a site related to the health benefits of magnesium for dogs.

    I have not heard about this disease here in the states, however, during my 89lb Airedale Terrier’s annual checkup earlier this summer, he tested positive for Leptospirosis. I was told it was worse than Lyme disease, however, with meds can be totally cured.

    Leptospirosis can be contracted by your dog drinking stagnant water…even a puddle from a recent rain storm.
    I think they’re connected and we have to be aware of this horrible disease to keep our dogs safe. We wouldn’t let a child drink from stagnant water, so why let our dog child?

    I’m hoping everyone will share this blog with friends and neighbors to bring awareness.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Karen and taking the time to educate us about Leptospirosis. It is great news that it is a totally curable condition with medications, I will always prefer a sick fur-baby than a dead one! 

      The cases of Alabama Rot in the USA have been very few but the locations have not been made known. Great news for your Airedale Terrier’s as the strain of  Alabama Rot (CGRV) here in the USA is only targeting the Greyhound breed and 2 cases of Whippets since 2012. That being said, it’s still a good routine to prune and check for any symptoms that your dog may have to aid in early detection as most dogs who obtain this horrible disease usually have less than 36 hours to receive some form of treatment to stave off the infection.

      The last thing I will leave you with as well as my other readers. Unfortunately, when on walks with your dog-child (LOVE it! Never heard that term before) we can not watch them all the time so they may sneak in a quick drink from a stagnant puddle or pool off a river but if we take a fresh bottle of water on our walks to hydrate them, we can deter them from taking a drink else where. Some dogs will not drink from a bottle, so in my  FOOD/BOWLS section in the drop down menu, there are pictures of a portable, collapsible bowl for exactly this situation. I also invested in one of these doggy backpacks that have a compartment on either side which was great for carrying beverages, some snacks, poop bags, car keys, anything but your cellphone just in case they went swimming. It improved the walking on the leash, it mentally stimulated them and created a little tougher workout for them. I will be doing an article in the near future on these as they are a great dog owner tool to have.  Thanks again Karen for the great information and enjoy your time with your Airedale Terriers.

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