Dog owners warned over UK cases of killer virus ‘Alabama Rot’

Dog owners warned over UK cases of killer virus ‘Alabama Rot’

Vets have urged dog owners to keep a close eye on their pets after more cases of deadly Alabama Rot in the UK.

The fatal, flesh-eating disease killed one dog a week in 2019 and five dogs in the UK have lost their lives to it since the start of 2022.

A number of cases were recored in Ireland in 2018 and further infections were reported in Northern Ireland in 2020.

The warning comes after Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester told about the two latest cases in Bristol and Kingston, Devon.

Since 2012 the animal hospital has been leading research into the Alabama Rot virus since 2012, and it is combining information on all confirmed cases and reports.

David Walker, who leads the team said: “We’re very sad to confirm two further cases of CRGV. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the time of year when cases are most commonly identified.

“We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and to seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”

Alabama rot, otherwise known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) damages the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys, which causes visible sores on the skin and can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

The cause of the disease, which has a 90% mortality rate, is currently unknown, though research is ongoing.

Most reports come from pet owners who walk their dogs in the countryside, and most cases are reported during winter and spring. Generally, cases are rare in the summer months compared to the colder months.

The two new confirmed cases follow 28 throughout 2021 and 47 in 2020, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 284.