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Alabama Rot - cause still remains elusive

General practice vet, Amy Knapman,

has now been with the practice for

nearly three months and is settling in

well, thanks to a warm welcome from

Willows’ clients.

Although if anyone knows how to

speed along a house purchase, advice

would be gratefully received... She’s

very much enjoying getting to know

our long-standing patients and also a

lovely lot of new puppies and kittens

recently – always a pleasant way to

spend an afternoon!

Amy’s Top Tip for Summer!

We have also been seeing a few cases

of fly strike as the weather has got

warmer. This condition affects rabbits –

if you keep rabbits, make sure to check

them twice a day for dirty bottoms or

any interest from flies. Always phone

straight away for advice if you are

worried about your rabbit, as this can

be a very unpleasant condition and

requires immediate attention.

Amy settles in...


Tongue ulcer


Tongue lesions


Superficial ulcer affecting medial thigh


Deep ulceration erythema

and exudation on a digit


Erosion to carpal pad before cleaning


The same lesion after clipping and cleaning


The distribution of confirmed cases across the UK

Image credits:Laura Holm,DavidWalker and colleagues atAnderson MooresVeterinary Specialists

WillowsVeterinary Centre

& Referral Service

Highlands Road Shirley Solihull

West Midlands B90 4NH

Telephone: 0121 712 7070

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Location with

a single case

Location with

two cases




General Practice Service Clinician

assisted by

Amy Bowcott


Assistant Nurse Manager (Surgical)

Since November 2012 more than 40 dogs

have died in the UK from what is thought to

be Alabama Rot - a disease which has inflicted

greyhounds in the US for over 30 years. Here

in the UK, however, this disease shows no

predilection for breed, age or sex. Cases have

been reported from all across the UK, with

clusters of cases seen in the New Forest in

Hampshire, Guildford in Surrey and Leigh in

Greater Manchester. There may be a seasonal

distribution with cases reported between

November and June and in dogs that have

been walking through woodland areas.

Worryingly, the condition is known to cause

acute kidney injury (sudden onset kidney

failure). Ulcerated skin lesions are often

noted in the initial stages on the extremities/

limbs. Within a few days, dogs develop

acute kidney injury. The prognosis for dogs

with kidney injury is extremely poor, only

a few dogs have survived after intensive

treatment. Signs of kidney failure include lack

of appetite, vomiting and lethargy. A few dogs

have developed skin lesions alone with no

detectable kidney injury. Most of these dogs

have survived.

Histology of lesions (examination of tissue

under the microscope) indicates the dogs are

suffering from a thrombotic microangiopathy.

This means that there is inflammation and

damage to the tiny blood vessel walls within

the tissues, resulting in small blood clots that

cause reduction in platelets (important for

clotting), anaemia (reduced red cell count)

and ultimately damage to vital organs like

the kidneys.

Tests to look for causative agents like

leptospirosis, toxins produced by bacteria like

E coli and viruses have so far drawn a blank.

Unfortunately, the cause is, as yet, unknown. It

is also not known whether this is an emerging

disease or a previously unrecognised one.

Research is currently ongoing by DavidWalker

at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists

and the Animal Health Trust.

If you are concerned that your dog is

showing any of the signs of Alabama Rot,

immediate veterinary attention is required.

For latest information visit: