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'Urgent warning' for local dog walkers after 'Alabama rot case'

The affected dog's paw. <i>(Image: Fauna Veterinary)</i>
The affected dog's paw. (Image: Fauna Veterinary)

A local vet has issued an “urgent announcement” for pet owners after a suspected Alabama rot case in the area.

Fauna Veterinary, in Green Lane, Northwood, said it has recently dealt with a dog with a suspected case of the “rare but serious disease”, which damages blood vessels in the skin and kidneys and can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

The pet had apparently been regularly walked in the Northwood and Rickmansworth areas, particularly Rickmansworth Aquadrome.

Fauna Veterinary founder Dr Punit Rawal explained that the pooch had first been brought in on November 24, with an unexplained injury. After he began to suspect that it might be Alabama rot, it was brought back in and blood tests suggested kidney infection or damage, consistent with Alabama rot.

Dr Rawal added that it was the first time he had come across the disease because it was so rare but advised pet owners not to panic or avoid particular areas. Instead, he recommended owners be vigilant about cleaning dogs right after walks and checking them for similar lesions.

The local dog suffering from the suspected case has been recovering and the lesion has been getting better each day, the vet added.

According to the RSPCA only a small number of Alabama rot have been seen throughout the UK, with most reports coming from pet owners who walk their dogs in the countryside during the winter and spring. Two cases of the disease were confirmed in Rickmansworth in 2020.

Watford Observer: The affected dog's paw.
Watford Observer: The affected dog's paw.

The affected dog's paw. (Image: Fauna Veterinary.)

The cause of the disease is currently unknown, and the RSPCA says that “while there may be an environmental trigger, we can't confirm that some areas are safer than others”.

The charity added: “If you're concerned that your dog may be suffering, we urge that you contact your vet immediately for further advice.

“If it is Alabama rot, early recognition and aggressive management are likely to have the best results.”

Signs to watch out for include skin sores, especially on the paws, legs, and face, lethargy or loss of energy, and vomiting or diarrhoea.