we have had many calls from concerned owners who are worried their dogs may be at risk from the so-called "Alabama Rot" - an often fatal condition which has been in the news recently. The first thing to say is that this is NOT a common condition and although it has been reported in and around the New Forest, cases have been seen througout the UK since 2012.
The first signs are seen on the skin where there may be areas of redness and hair loss or ulceration 1-4cms across. These are often seen below the elbow/knee joints. The dogs then develop signs of acute kidney failure which include severe depression, reduced appetite and vomiting. Sadly this kidney failure often proves fatal.
It is not known for sure what causes alabama rot, but similar damage to the kidneys in people is known to be caused by a toxin produced by a bacterium called E.coli. This toxin has not yet been found in affected dogs but there is ongoing research.
If your dog develops any similar signs on its skin which you can't account for (or any of the signs of kidney failure) then it is worth coming in for a check. Dogs which have recovered have generally been seen by a vet early on, but please do not panic as this is still a rare condition.