Alabama rot in dogs

dog at the vet
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Alabama rot is a serious but thankfully very rare disease that dogs can contract. We’re going to take a look into what the disease really is, what the symptoms are and how to take care of and treat your dog if they are affected by Alabama rot.

What is Alabama rot?

Alabama rot is a very rare disease that affects dogs by damaging the bloods vessels in their skin and kidneys. Small blood clots form in blood vessels which blocks them, leading to ulceration of the skin and if the kidneys are affected, this can lead to kidney failure and even death.

Currently, we do not know exactly what causes Alabama rot in dogs, but research has shown that most cases tend to occur in the winter and early spring, and it is often found in dogs that frequently walk in muddy and woodland areas. It’s a disease that can affect dogs of any age or breed.

What are the symptoms of Alabama rot?

The main symptoms of Alabama rot can include:

  • Skin ulcers/sores - these are most commonly found on the legs and paws, although the head, tongue and belly can be affected. The ulcers can look like areas of skin redness that can be mistaken for a bruise or sting, or may look be raised, red and painful.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low energy
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea – may sometimes be bloody too

You should always contact your vet as soon as you spot any of these symptoms, especially if they’ve been out walking in woodlands or damp areas recently. Whilst the disease is very rare and it’s unlikely the problem will be caused by Alabama rot, it’s still best to get checked and be safe.

How to treat Alabama rot  

The treatment for Alabama rot will depend on your dog’s symptoms and how severe their case is. Treatment for the skin wounds will include pain relief for the ulcers and sores, and antibiotics may also be required if they become infected. You could also potentially have to invest in a buster collar if your dog keeps licking or nibbling on their wounds. 

If your dog only develops skin ulceration with Alabama rot, there is a good chance they will make a full recovery with the right care and treatment. Unfortunately, if the kidneys are affected, despite hospitalisation at the vets and intensive care, many dogs will develop kidney failure and not survive the disease.


Don’t forget to check out Asda Pet Insurance so you can get access to a 24-hour Vet Advice Line to get help with all sorts of issues, and feel confident your dog will get the treatment they need.

Asda Money dog insurance is designed for a range of dogs and owners, with different cover levels for all kinds of budgets, breeds and circumstances. Learn more about what our policies cover and how they can help your pup on our pet insurance page.

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