ALABAMA ROT OUTBREAK
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 the 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 dogs. 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 undergoing.at 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.
WHAT IS ALABAMA ROT?
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.
HOW DO DOGS CONTRACT ALABAMA ROT?
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 household 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.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY DOG?
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, vegetation 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, 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.