Case of deadly dog disease found in Stalybridge
Tuesday 28th March 2017 @ 11:12 by Tom Greggan
News Stalybridge

Vets are stepping up research into a deadly dog disease after eight more confirmed cases, including one in Stalybridge.

Alabama Rot, which first appeared in the late 1980s affecting greyhounds in America, has now been found in 94 cases in 29 counties across the UK since 2012 and the latest confirmed cases also include the first in Ireland.

The first signs of Alabama Rot are usually skin sores that aren’t caused by a known injury. Most commonly these sores are found on the lower half of the leg and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.

In America, the disease only affects greyhounds but here in the UK, it has affected dogs regardless of the breed, age, sex or weight of the dog. The cause of Alabama Rot is still unknown so there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease.

Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, the UK’s leading expert on the condition, has announced the first Alabama Rot ‘conference’ will be held in May, with scientists from human medicine working  alongside vets from academia and private practice to discuss ways to learn more about the disease.

David Walker, from Anderson Moores said: “It is concerning that we are continuing to identify cases across the whole of the UK and now we have also confirmed the first cases in Ireland and Warwickshire.

“The meeting we are hosting in May, which is being co-ordinated by my colleague Laura Holm, will hopefully help us to forge important collaborations to drive forward research into this devastating disease.

“Amongst the subjects of discussion will be the search for additional funding to support more research to help understand the disease and ultimately how it could be treated and possibly prevented.”

A case of Alabama Rot has been found in Stalybridge.

To help collate accurate data about the disease, Anderson Moores is asking all vets in the UK and Ireland to contact them if they see a dog they suspect has Alabama Rot.

“It’s important that vets inform us of any suspected cases of Alabama Rot in the UK and Ireland, so we can continue to learn more about this dreadful disease,” added David.

“There have been a number of cases tentatively diagnosed by vets, but unless we carry out analysis of the tissues, we are not able to definitively diagnose the condition.

“Only analysis of a kidney from a dog suspected to be suffering from the disease will give 100 per cent confirmation that we are dealing with Alabama rot.”

Vets4Pets has been supporting the research work carried out by Anderson Moores and will be represented at the ‘conference’ in May.

Vet and Director of Clinical Services at Vets4Pets, Dr Huw Stacey, said: “The conference could be a key stepping stone to finding the cause of Alabama Rot and perhaps treatment, or even a cure. While the number of confirmed cases is low, the first case in Ireland is clearly a concern.

“Treatment is supportive, but is only successful in around 20 percent of cases, which is why we’re encouraging all dog owners to use the online interactive guide to help them understand the clinical signs and confirmed locations of the condition.

“If a dog becomes affected, the best chance of recovery lies with early and intensive veterinary care at a specialist facility such as Anderson Moores. Such treatment has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering from the condition.

“Any dog owners who are worried that their pet might have Alabama Rot should contact their veterinary practice immediately. This will help build knowledge about the disease and also give a dog the best chance of survival.

“We would also encourage all vets and owners to work with David and his team at Anderson Moores so we can have a clear picture of confirmed cases in the UK and Ireland, to help prevent more dogs falling victim to this terrible disease.”

To find out where in the UK cases of Alabama Rot have been confirmed, visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/.