Critical: Alabama Rot claims five dogs in UK as number of cases continues to rise

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Vets are warning dog owners to be extra vigilant this winter in the wake of a number of dog deaths attributed to Alabama Rot. At the first signs of infection, seek help.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 17/12/2019, 09:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:22

A recent spate of dog deaths in and around Horsham in West Sussex and Hungerford in Berkshire has prompted vets to issue a warning to owners about Alabama Rot.

The exact cause of Alabama Rot is not known, thus neither a vaccine nor a cure has been found for what is, if contracted, nearly always a fatal condition. It is opined that the Rot causes the dog to suffer e-coli toxicosis but this is not confirmed.

Writes The Sun, London's Royal Veterinary College admits the only one dog in five is likely to survive a case of Rot. The disease affects all breeds of dog.

How to spot signs of Alabama Rot

Despite there being no definite cause identified vets are warning owners to be vigilant of their dog’s health and to seek medical assistance if the dog’s skin begins to develop lesions.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sores
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

The disease appears to be most virulent in the winter. Since it was first diagnosed in 2012 and identified as coming in from the United States the number of dogs suffering with the disease has increased year on year.


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The Sun reports on a significantly higher number of cases in Greater Manchester, Dorset and the New Forest in Hampshire.

Remain calm and vigilant

Expert David Walker told The Sun, “Further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners, however, this disease is still very rare, so we're advising owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.

While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, there is a very useful guide available online to help people understand where in the UK confirmed cases have been found and advice on how to spot signs.”