Emerging diseases……

Over the past couple of years a number of new emerging diseases have been seen in this country. This is the first of 3 blog articles which will concentrate on these emerging diseases:

  • Alabama Rot
  • Babesiosis
  • Seasonal Canine Illness.


Between Dec 2012 and Feb 2013 there were 4 cases of animals presenting with acute kidney injury after having shown signs of skin lesions a few days before. Alabama rot is also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV). Unfortunately in all these 4 cases the disease was fatal. These cases were localised to an area in the New Forest.

Since December 2012 56 cases of Alabama rot have been confirmed across the country. It can affect all sizes and breeds of dogs, not just confined to greyhounds as originally thought. It does have a seasonal occurrence with most cases seen over Winter and into Spring.

The clinical signs start as skin lesions mostly of the limbs towards the paws, but there can be lesions on the muzzle and the abdomen. The skin lesions can appear like insect bites or stings, but can become more ulcerated. The disease progresses rapidly over a few days and dogs go into acute kidney failure. The clinical signs of kidney failure include loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting. However the time between sores appearing on the skin and kidney failure can be between one and ten days.

Unfortunately it is not known what causes Alabama rot so it is very hard to be able to advise owners what to avoid. The most important thing is to check your dogs body daily for any lumps and bumps. Any concerns at all contact your local branch immediately. The earlier the disease is caught the better chance of survival. There is no vaccination currently against Alabama rot as the cause is unknown. Cats and rabbits are not thought to be affected by Alabama rot.

If you are concerned about any skin lesions or if your dog suddenly seems unwell please contact your local branch of Swayne & Partners. This means that supportive treatment can begin as soon as possible.