Dog owners in the wider Greater Manchester region are being urged to keep vigilant after a beloved pet has sadly died from Alabama Rot.
Otherwise known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), Alabama Rot is a disease that affects dogs by damaging the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys. This can cause small blood clots to form – resulting in blockages that may lead to tissue damage and visible ulceration in the skin.
When the kidney is affected, it can also lead to severe organ dysfunction, eventual kidney failure – and in a significant number of instances, death.
While the cause of Alabama Rot currently remains unknown, symptoms of the disease in dogs include unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin and vomiting, reduced appetite, and tiredness caused by kidney failure.
Alabama Rot has been a serious cause of concern for dog owners in Greater Manchester and the North West in previous years – and now it appears to have reared its ugly head once again over the border in Cheshire.
Rebecca Fox and her husband James have decided to share their tragic experience with Alabama Rot – which happened while they were on holiday in the Delamere Forest with their dogs back in May – with Cheshire Live to raise awareness of the deadly disease.
After being on holiday for a week, the couple noticed that their Cocker Spaniel Millie was frantically licking her paw, limping and reluctant to put her weight on it, so they decided to get some antiseptic spray to see if that would help, but by the Sunday, Millie became “very lethargic”.
They initially put that down to her being tired after an increase in activity level with being on holiday, but it soon became apparent that something more serious was wrong.
Rebecca told Cheshire Live: “We were predominantly in Delamere Forest because that is where we were staying and we walked round and in the forest.
“It was a very wet week and it was awful weather, so it was very muddy everywhere.
“We had been there for a week, and so the next Friday we were all in the log cabin and Millie started frantically licking her front paw, so we thought it had got a bit infected [as] she was limping and holding it up as well by that point.
“It came on really suddenly.”
Rebecca said the Cocker Spaniel seemed uncharacteristically quiet on the way home and decided to take her to their local vets to treat the infected paw.
They were initially given an antiseptic bathing treatment for the paw, before Millie’s condition began to deteriorate further.
“Initially they sent us away saying it was a paw infection and gave us some antiseptic bathing stuff to put on her,” Rebecca continued.
“By the Tuesday afternoon, she started being sick and that continued all day [and] then she couldn’t move much and couldn’t keep her limbs still, so we took her back at midnight and she stayed at our local vets all night.
“They rang us on the Wednesday to say her kidney numbers were rising dramatically [and] that they were failing basically.”
Despite the best efforts of the vets, Millie started to deteriorate further. The couple made the difficult and devastating decision that the “kindest thing” was to have Millie put down, with her sadly dying on 28 May.
Rebecca continued: “She was only six-years-old, a happy active spaniel [and] it was just how it took her. From finding the paw, to her dying was just seven days and she was a well and happy dog.
“This is why we want to raise awareness of this disease, because of how quickly it takes dogs when it gets hold of their kidneys.”
Following the loss of their beloved pet, Rebecca and James have now set up a JustGiving page to not only raise awareness, but also to raise funds for research into the cause of the little-known but deadly disease.
The couple has warned dog owners that if they see their pet with an unexplained sore, to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
“We want to help other people recognise the signs,” Rebecca said.
“The disease at the minute is not very well-researched; they don’t have a lot about it at the moment unfortunately.
“We don’t want people to go through what we went through.”
You can make a donation to Rebecca and James’ fight to find a cure for Alabama Rot via the JustGiving page here.
More information on Alabama Rot can be found via the RSPCA website here.
Featured Image – Rebecca Fox / Cheshire Live