Alabama Rot – Signs, Symptoms and How To Prevent

by Reena Bakir
alabama rot

Alabama Rot, also known as CRBV, is a deadly disease on the rise in the UK with the number of cases increasing yearly since its first detection in 2012. Characterised by its attack on a dog’s skin and flesh, Alabama Rot causes extreme damage to a dog’s blood vessels as well as their kidneys and can be very difficult to diagnose and treat, with many of the cases leading to fatality.

Therefore, it is highly essential that owners know the signs and symptoms of this disease in order to spot it in its early stages and receive the appropriate medical treatment.

What is Alabama Rot and what are its symptoms?

alabama rot

The disease was first diagnosed in Alabama in the 1980s among Greyhound dogs and has recently spiked in the number of cases in the UK with many serious outbreaks taking place in several areas across the country.

Often turning fatal, the disease is extremely tricky to spot and even harder to treat, and so precautions are necessary to keep dogs safe from this disease. It is characterised by the ulcers it leaves on a dog’s skin, but the more dangerous of its symptoms is its attack on blood vessels and the dog’s kidneys.

The symptoms of Alabama Rot include:

  • lesions on the skin and flesh, mainly on legs chest and abdomen
  • open wounds on skin
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • tiredness

Since it’s symptoms are relatively general, the disease often goes unnoticed until it’s more serious side effects, such as kidney failure, begin to appear.

How to prevent Alabama Rot

The causes of Alabama Rot are often linked with walking dogs in particular muddy and wet areas of the countryside, due to the belief that certain toxins in the mud and dirt can lead to the formation of this disease. However, no clear cause has been determined by vets. It is still advised that your dog should be kept away from muddy areas, and to have your dog washed off immediately after returning from a muddy or wet walk. Moreover, a spike in cases has been noticed to occur in the months of November until June. It is therefore essential to check your dog’s skin daily for signs of lesions or ulcers, especially when coming home from walks in the outdoors.


alabama rot

It is hard to diagnose this disease as it can only be confirmed by obtaining kidney tissue, which is often taken after a pet has passed. Blood or urine tests cannot show Alabama Rot yet.

Despite its tough diagnosis, if the disease is caught in its early life, treatment can still be possible. Once signs of this disease begin emerging, taking your dog to the vet should be the first step in order to begin intense veterinary care.

Dogs would usually undergo treatment of kidney failure and skin lesions, which can be treated and even cured if the disease has not yet spread or developed. The treatment would usually include the administration of antibiotics on the infected areas, and aggressive treatment to attempt to treat the affected kidneys. However, only %20-30 of treatments are entirely successful.


While the number of cases has risen, the chances of dogs catching the disease are still slim, with a very small percentage of dogs falling ill to the disease. Yet, this does not mean that precuations should not be taken, and owners should always check up on their dog’s overall health to spot any early tell-tale signs in order to recieve early medical treatment.

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