What is Alabama Rot and can you stop your dog from getting it?

Alabama Rot can be fatal and has no known cure or vaccine, but knowing the signs and acting quickly could save your pet's life


Alabama Rot disease, otherwise known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), was first detected in the UK in 2012.

This disease which affects dogs was first identified in Alabama in the 1980s. Although there is no known cure for the disease, research is ongoing, and knowing the symptoms and acting fast could save your pets life. But what should you be looking out for?

What is Alabama Rot?

We know little about this disease. However, we do know it can have fatal consequences in dogs of all shapes and sizes. There have been 122 incidents in the UK since it was first identified in 2012. Contracting the disease doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a fatal outcome, as if recognised early, it can be treatable.

Which pets can be affected by Alabama Rot?

As far as specialists are aware, the disease only affects dogs. However, more research needs to be done into why this is the case.

Where is Alabama Rot found, and is it common?

Many believe that Alabama Rot is picked up from woodland, especially in very muddy areas. Vets4Pets have built a handy interactive map where you can identify the areas around you that have been affected. Areas in the UK which have been more heavily affected include Dorset, Mid Wales and Greater Manchester. Can Alabama Rot be passed from dog to dog? There is no suggestion that the disease is transmitted between dogs.

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?

You should be regularly checking your dog for ulcers and lesions which can appear to look like red bites, stings and wounds. Symptoms can worsen in a matter of days, leading to kidney failure. 85% of cases are fatal.

How can you prevent Alabama Rot in your dog?

As there is no known cause, there is no definitive way to stop the spread of the disease. However, we got in touch with a vet who told us: “Make sure you wash your dog’s face and feet after every walk (especially in wooded areas) and keep checking for lesions.” What should I do if I suspect my dog has Alabama Rot? If you find any red marks on your pet which you don’t believe to have been caused by an injury, contact your vet as soon as possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Is there a vaccine to protect against Alabama Rot?

As there is no known cause, there is no vaccine or treatment to protect against the disease.

What is being done to stop Alabama Rot?

Researchers are doing all they can to identify the cause of this disease. Some have suggested it could be transmitted by certain plants, which is why cases are more common in Spring and Winter.

The Alabama Rot Research Fund Charity are doing all they can to get the bottom of this disease. This group of volunteers raise money to fund vital research into identifying the disease and recording confirmed cases. Their aim is: "To raise funds to promote research into all aspects of the disease in dogs … with the aim of advancing education in the disease and guiding treatment and prevention strategies to relieve the suffering of dogs who are in need of care and attention".

In the meantime, you can get peace of mind by covering your furry friends under Admiral Pet Insurance.