What is Alabama Rot? Symptoms and causes of the ‘black death’ dog disease and how to protect your pet

A DEADLY flesh-eating disease is sweeping the country and distraught dog owners are growing increasingly concerned for their pets.

Let’s take a closer look at Alabama Rot – sometimes referred to as the ‘black death’ disease – which is gaining ground in the UK.


Pets are left with agonising lesions across their face as their flesh is eaten away

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot, or cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), has only recently been recognised in dogs in Britain after first being identified in the US in the 1980s.

It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings, and some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure.

The disease is fatal in 9 out of 10 cases and dogs of any age, sex, or breed can be subject to the disease.

Between November 2012 and May 2015 there were 56 confirmed cases in the UK.

Alamba Rot causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue.

This causes ulceration in the skin but in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure).

If untreated, dogs can develop a raging fever and will eventually die.


Cases of it have been reported as far apart as Devon, the Lake District, the Midlands, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?

The first symptoms of Alabama Rot are skin lesions, ulcers or sores, not caused by any known injury, according to AlabamaRot.co.uk.

These sores appear on the legs, body, mouth or tongue.

The dog may start to lick their foot or leg – and it might not be clear initially that the problem is underneath the fur.

Over the course of one to nine days, dogs develop symptoms of acute kidney injury, which include vomiting, lack of appetite or unusual tiredness.

Less than a fifth of dogs have symptoms jaundice, fever, diarrhoea, petechiae, seizures or blood in stools.

The cause isn’t known but one theory is that the bug multiplies in wet warm weather because it collects in pools of water, specially in boggy woodland areas.

The puddles become host to a slimy, blue-green algae which is perfect for the bacteria, turning into a death trap for thirsty dogs out for walks with their owners.


It’s feared the killer disease could be picked up by pets drinking in the outdoors

How can I protect my pet from the flesh-eating disease?

As the exact cause of Alabama Rot…

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