UPDATE Sunday 7th January: We emphasise again that we have been unable to identify any OFFICIALLY confirmed case of Alabama Rot relating to the Lickey Hills Country Park. After speaking to the rangers, they have also been working very hard to find any confirmation and have also been unable to do so.
SO there is NO CONFIRMATION that there has been a case related to the Lickey Hills.
As a precaution only, please do read the advice and information below: DON’T PANIC, keep walking your dogs and just be aware.
Rangers at Lickey Hills have advised that there is an outdoor tap on one of the Visitors Centre buildings in Warren Lane which you are free to use to clean your dogs before leaving – they will also be getting a brush and hose set up to make cleaning easier at the beginning of the week.
Wherever you walk your dog, consider caring bottled water to wash off their feet and legs before returning home.
Further advice and an interactive map of confirmed cases can be found on the Vets4Pets website
There have been several posts on social media warning of a potential outbreak of ‘Alabama Rot’ – a disease which can be difficult to identify and treat.
Even though we have been unable to find a credible source to confirm any cases locally at present – including a reported case where a dog had been walked in the Lickey Hills – we have provided information and advice below.
Remember, this is a very rare disease, so DON’T PANIC & don’t stop using our parks and green spaces – just be vigilant.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA told us: “I can’t find any calls related to Alabama Foot Rot, however these calls won’t necessarily come to us.
“We would always urge anyone who suspects their pet is suffering from Alabama Foot Rot to get in touch with their vet.”
What is it?
Alabama Rot is a disease that causes damage to a dog’s blood vessels and the kidney. It is a mysterious disease which is hard to identify and sadly, very difficult to treat.
How is it spread?
There has been some speculation that walking dogs in particular areas of the countryside may be a contributing factor, but the Forestry Commission has yet to warn of any specific sites being dangerous, reassuring dog owners by saying “Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.”
How do I prevent my dog from contracting it?
There are no specific steps you can take to prevent your dog from contracting the disease, but there is some evidence of seasonal fluctuation, with most cases appearing between November and June.
It is suspected the disease spreads from muddy and wooded areas – dog owners who do walk their dogs in these places are advised to wash off any mud as soon as possible, and of course, keep close control of their dogs at all times to monitor where they go.
What signs should I look out for?
The first sign of Alabama Rot is skin sores that have not been caused by a physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. The sores are most commonly found below the knee or elbow or occasionally on the stomach or face. Usually, this will cause localised hair loss and the dog will begin licking the wound. These lesions will be followed – between two and seven days later – with outward symptoms of kidney failure: reduced appetite, fatigue, and vomiting.
Affected dogs will also develop signs of severe depression, loss of appetite and vomiting, quickly accompanied by acute injury to the kidneys.
What should I do if I think my dog has Alabama Rot?
The best outcomes seem to be achieved by catching it early and the animal receiving high-quality veterinary care. Whilst some infected dogs do survive the treatments of skin sores and kidney failure, unfortunately, many do not – it is estimated that treatment is only successful in around 20-30% of cases.
It is important, however, not to get overly worried by this as the percentage of dogs in the UK who have contracted this disease is truly minuscule. Though, what is vital, is that you understand the problem and know what to look out for, should your dog come into contact with it, as time plays a large part in successfully treating the disease.
What is the source?
The source of the disease is unknown, with the Environment Agency ruling out any chemical contamination in water supplies. Experts believe the disease is “very similar” to Alabama Rot, thought to be related to a toxin produced by E. Coli bacteria. However, no evidence of this has been found after no signs were shown on the infected dogs.
Info Courtesy Country File.