The BBC report Royal Veterinary College researcher Dr Kim Stevens who confirms that about 60% of cases of Alabama rot, which has killed more than 100 dogs in the UK, occur in the first three months of the year.
New research by Kim Stevens has started to try and discover more about the risk factors and spread of the disease. The cause of the disease, which first occurred in the UK in 2012, is still unknown. However, researchers have found there are more cases in autumn and winter. Most deaths caused by the disease have happened in Hampshire, Dorset and Greater Manchester*.
The disease causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth. Some dogs can also develop life-threatening kidney failure.
Dr Kim Stevens, of the Royal Veterinary College, said her research, expected to conclude by the end of the year, would not identify the specific cause of the disease. She said it was instead designed to look for geographical patterns, as well as environmental and climatic risk factors. A “very obvious” pattern already found was linked to seasons, she added:
“There are limited cases over the summer whereas everything starts to pick up in November and at least 60% of the cases occur in the first three months of the year, so it’s very much an autumn/winter pattern that we’re looking at.”
UK dog deaths from Alabama rot since 2012
County Durham 2
Dumfries and Galloway 1
East Sussex 3
Greater Manchester 12
North Yorkshire 1
West Sussex 3
West Yorkshire 2
Source: Royal Veterinary College/Stop Alabama Rot
* from the list of dog deaths by county, 40 of the 101 confirmed deaths since 2012 occurred in Dorset, Hampshire or Greater Manchester.