OTTAWA – Dog owners have been told be on high alert as flesh-eating disease Alabama Rot sweeps across Britain.
Vets are warning pet owners to be vigilant as the disease can be fatal unless treated and often results in kidney failure.
The devastating condition, officially called CRGV, can lead to a dog’s flesh rotting away.
Despite the aggressive nature of the disease, and the high mortality rates associated with it, little is known about Alabama rot’s cause or how it is spread. There is no known cure either so vets can only treat its symptoms.
Symptoms start with skin lesions or sores that appear without injury and the number of cases have quadrupled in the UK in the last two years.
Huw Stacey, head of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Most commonly these sores are found below the elbow or knee and appear as a distinct swelling, a patch of red skin or are open and ulcer-like.
“If a dog becomes infected the best outcome will come from early and intensive veterinary care, which has resulted in some dogs successfully recovering.
“The concern among vets in the UK is that unlike the Alabama Rot that affected greyhounds in America, the disease in the UK does not seem to target any specific breed, age, sex or weight of dog.
“While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, our preventative methods might help put a stop to it in the UK.”
Alabama rot cases have been reported across the UK and Ireland and experts have said more dogs seem to fall ill during colder months, suggesting there may be an environmental trigger to the disease.
There have be no reported cases of Alabama rot in Canada.