About Alabama Rot

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?

If your dog has skin lesions, Alabama Rot might be the cause. Alabama Rot is fatal in 90% of cases.

The lesions appear as a recent skin abnormality (a swelling, patch of red skin or defect in the skin or small wound or ulcer). Lesions are typically the size of a 5 pence or 50 pence piece (0.5cm to 5cm in diameter) (2) and can appear anywhere on the dog.

David Walker of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists

If you see a lesion, immediately take your dog to your vet. Make sure you immediately get a referral from your vet to David Walker at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (the countries leading Alabama Rot specialists).

David advises you see your vet immediately if your dog gets a skin wound.

David said:

“if you see a skin wound on your dog don’t just leave it. Ordinarily you might leave that for 24, 48 hours – I would say don’t do that, get down to your local vet.” (3)

Within one to nine days the affected dogs have signs of kidney disease including vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness. (2) Nine out of ten dogs are dead within 10 days.

To veterinary pathologists it looks like a disease found in racing greyhounds in the USA which they call ‘Alabama rot’ and is more precisely known as ‘idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV)’. In layman’s terms this means: ‘there’s something damaging the blood vessels in the skin and the kidneys but we don’t know what’. (1)

amlogoMore information about Alabama Rot from Anderson Moores for owners and vets. (2)

What is the trigger for Alabama Rot?

We don’t know. It could be something in the environment or it could be genetic.

David Walker of Anderson Moores said (from 1 min) in March 2014:

It could be something in the environment such as bacteria or viruses that are releasing toxins that affect the dog or it could be an idiopathic disease which arises spontaneously (and not in the environment at all) which is intrinsic to the dog, such as its genetics.

In January 2014 David Walker on ‘Inside Science’ (from 24 minutes for 5 minutes) said (at 26 minutes):

Alabama Rot disease in dogs has similarities to haemolytic uremic syndrome in people – this is caused by a shigatoxin from E.Coli bacteria.  Dogs ingesting a toxin might be triggering Alabama Rot.


(1) ‘Alabama Rot – an emerging disease’http://miramarvets.co.uk/alabama-rot-emerging-disease/ (accessed 24th February 2015)
(2) Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists ‘Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury’, http://www.andersonmoores.com/vet/news/ (accessed 24th February 2015)
(3) BBC report on John Tricker and ‘Barney’ (accessed 24th February 2015)

9 Replies to “About Alabama Rot”

  1. Re washing off mud following walks in muddy countryside….. if i do this with a hose in my garden – what is the risk of contaminating the soil of my garden with the toxin or pathogen that is causing this illness? What procedure -exactly- is recommended?
    Secondly- does Anderson Moore’s look at photographs of lesions and advise? finally- what differences are there in the appearance of an Alabama rot lesion and a histiocytoma?

  2. Hi I’m not sure how I can contact you but I read an article on the sun regarding the possible cause of Alabama rot . My beautiful cavalier, Henry had to be put down due to dreadful skin lesions , my vet did not seem to know what it was or the cause, eventuallt Henry had to be put to sleep but I just never knew what it was and I really wish I did. I read an article on the sun which lead me here. I never knew about Alabama rot but It mentioned that the germs in green algae on ponds could be a cause but they are unsure but my dog used to lick the water from a pond in our garden with green algae on every time we would immediately stop him but it has left me wondering is this the cause ?

  3. This makes fascinating reading especially as we have had the first confirmed cases in our area confirmed within a week or 2 of when the local farmers started spraying their fields. I though maybe i was over thinking it but after reading these comments could it be that new chemicals are being used by farmers and getting into the water ways that our dogs run in and drink from whilst out walking? I was shocked the other day when the Farmer in the fields we walk in was spraying his fields during strong winds and you could actually see the spray blowing straight over the brook where most local dogs go to cool off on walks

  4. Looking at the maps the cases seem to be very concentrated in the New Forest area of Hampshire where many people take their dogs for walks. Maybe there are viruses in fox/deer faeces or in woodland toxins ?

  5. Hi Andrew,

    Scares me too, but I’m trying to suggest a cause to folks here and at AMVS. I suppose the dogs would have to all eat different food in winter for food to be the cause. Doesn’t seem all that likely.

    Suppose I told you that radioactive contaminants e.g. particles/liquids, consumed by dogs and humans attack the immune system? When folks consume food/water that is contaminated, they can die because they catch something and cannot defend against it.

    I don’t know whether this is the cause, but it sure as hell fits the bill, and upwind of the new forest there have been at least two prime sites that could have been the sources of large amounts of radioactive emissions, dust and debris?

    If I were as scared as you seem to be (there’s nothing wrong with that) I would not let your dogs lap water from puddles outside, muzzle them if they sniff a lot, and wash their paws before you let them back in the house. I am not advising you to do that. I’m just saying what I would do in your place :o).

  6. Carrying on from what Allison has said, have the unfortunate dogs been on any particular diets/brands of food that may have contributed to a lower immune system?

    Dogs that may have already been ill prior or not had their yearly boosters to fully protect their immune systems?

    I am a dog owner to two lovely boys and this disease scares the living day lights out of me.

  7. I run an advisory nutrition service for pets. I became interested in the cause and treatment of Alabama Rot when I read that some of the infected dogs had thrombocytopenia. I had chronic ITTP 30 years ago. It was caused by a combination of chemicals in food, its production, and in the environment which compromised my immune system. Please see http://www.petspantrynutritionservice.co.uk/about for details.

    Could Alabama Rot have a similar cause? If a dog has lowered immunity it could allow toxins or viruses to overwhelm the dog’s immune system, and these may be erroneously blamed for the dog’s demise. Chemicals in some commercial pet foods, together with agricultural and environmental chemicals can present a very dangerous combination and play havoc with immunity. Monsantos Roundup (glyphosate) for instance has been implicated in kidney failure – and is used on many recreation grounds and parks and gardens, as well as in agricultural use.

    1. Hi Allison,
      thanks for your hypothesis about Alabama Rot cause being related to lowered immunity. I’d suggest you propose this to David Walker at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists who is leading the research about Alabama Rot.

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