The New Forest mystery illness
With the wetter weather just before Christmas we have been receiving more queries about the New Forest mystery illness - known as Alabama Rot.
This extremely nasty illness technically known as ‘cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)’ has been known about for two years. At the time of writing a total of 46 dogs have been confirmed to have been affected by the illness. There may, however, have been others that have not been reported for official statistics. The last confirmed case was a single case in Deerleap, Hampshire in December 2014.
Cases have been clustered around the New Forest area although not exclusively so. Typically dogs develop a small wound or sore, usually on a leg but there have been cases under the belly. At this time the dogs appear otherwise well but can subsequently go on to develop kidney failure. A few dogs never even get the skin lesions.
Some dogs can recover with intensive treatment but sadly the condition is often fatal even with prompt veterinary attention.
The really frustrating fact of this disease for both owners and vets is that no causal factor has yet been identified. It does seem to have mostly affected dogs at this time of year and many people have speculated it is something in the environment possibly more prevalent when the ground is wet.
The lack of any firm causal factor makes it almost impossible to give firm advice on this terrible disease. Personally for animals living in our area I would advise to avoid walking dogs in the New Forest at this time of year and let us know if you have any concerns about any unexplained wound on a leg (or indeed any other part of the body) as soon as possible.
It’s important not to panic – you should bear in mind there are thousands of dogs in our region walked daily on muddy ground and only a tiny handful have contracted this disease.
We will continue to keep our vets and nursing team up-dated on any developments and let everyone know if things change.
Further information is available from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists. You can visit their website where you can also find an owners’ information sheet to download: Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS
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