Dog owners should arm themselves with knowledge of a new disease that has been giving dogs kidney failure.

Alabama Rot is a mysterious, hard-to-treat disease that starts off with skin ulcers and can lead to renal (kidney) failure.

There have been eight confirmed cases in London; the affected dogs were from Putney, Southfields, East Molesey, Harrow and Fetcham.

Vets4Pets, who campaign to increase awareness of the illness, said: “Alabama Rot is a doggy disease of unknown cause that affects all breeds and doesn’t discriminate in terms of age and weight.”

Nine new cases were confirmed by Vets4Pets last month.

Symptoms of Alabama Rot:

  • Lesions or ulcers on the skin (particularly near knee joints) 
  • Suddenly not wanting to eat
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Vomiting

Very little is known about Alabama Rot, some vets think it could be a type of bacteria, others think it could be a parasite.

Most vets suspect it is a toxin released from E. coli bacteria, commonly found in the manure of animals such as cattle and sheep (which regrettably many dogs love rolling in).

Because of this, some recommend thoroughly washing your dog after a muddy walk. It can't hurt to thoroughly examine your dog's skin for lesions.

The peak season for Alabama Rot is between October and April.

Since it first arrived in the UK in 2012, there have been 112 confirmed cases, 29 of these were in 2017.

Take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect they are sick. 

For more information, visit Vets4Pets.