“We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and seek advice from their vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”
Here is how to spot Alabama rot in your dog and best protect them if you notice symptoms:
Alabama dog rot is a disease thought to spread during dog walks in muddy and wooded areas. It damages a dog's blood vessels and kidneys, and can even cause the animal's skin to rot as it feasts on the flesh.
The name ‘Alabama’ came from the first identified cases amongst greyhounds in the state of Alabama, US, in the 1980s. It is sadly a little-known, mysterious disease which can be hard to spot and really difficult to treat.
Since Alabama rot was first detected in the UK in 2012, there have been 292 confirmed cases. The most serious outbreak was in the New Forest region of Hampshire, but other cases have been reported across the country, with the highest confirmed numbers also seen in Greater Manchester, Dorset, and Devon.
While the source of the disease is unknown, walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside is thought to contribute to the spread of Alabama Rot. The Forestry Commission is yet to find any specific site in the UK posing a risk, and has reassured dog owners that “many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.”