The Rise of Alabama Rot: All you Need to Know

Dog running by a stream
31 May 2018

In recent years, there has been a lot of attention in the news surrounding Alabama Rot, also known as CRGV. Despite more recent reports of dogs being diagnosed with this disease, many people are still confused about what Alabama Rot actually is, and the symptoms dogs may face if they get it.

Here at Asda Money, we want to make sure you know all there is to know about this rare disease, so we’ve put together a guide on what Alabama Rot is, how it’s caused, common symptoms, and the different ways to prevent it.

What is Alabama Rot?

First identified in America in the 1980s, Alabama Rot is a disease that can be fatal for dogs. It wasn't reported in the UK until 2012, however the number of dogs affected has increased in recent years, which is why we're hearing a lot more about it these days. 

Alabama Rot can cause damage to a dog’s blood vessels, both in the skin or their kidneys, which can lead to their flesh breaking down. Although the disease was initially first seen in greyhounds, Alabama Rot can affect all dogs, no matter what breed, gender, age or weight. There are currently no cases of any other animals that have suffered from the disease.

How is it Caused and Can I Prevent it?

The cause of Alabama Rot is up for debate, as many veterinary experts have different opinions. Some believe the disease is caused by a parasite, whilst others believe it is a bacterial infection. The most common theory is that the illness is caused by toxins produced by E-coli. Because there’s no exact reason why dogs pick up this fatal disease, there has been no vaccine developed to prevent it yet.

Many people believe that the disease is picked up on paws and legs during muddy walks, even more so when it's wet and cold. So, if you’re out on a walk, try to stick to dry paths if it’s been heavily raining, and try to limit your dog going into mud where possible. However, we know this can be tricky as most dogs love to get dirty, so if your pooch does play in the mud, be sure to wash them thoroughly afterwards. Although the disease is rare, it’s always worth checking for any Alabama Rot warning signs and symptoms in the next few days.

dog playing in mud


Some of the most common symptoms of Alabama Rot are:

  • Swellings, patches of red skin, or wounds that aren’t connected to an injury. These will usually appear on the lower leg, elbows, mouth or tongue, and will look similar to an ulcer.
  • Kidney failure
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Extensive tiredness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever

Although the above can be symptoms of the disease, they’re also regularly found in other illnesses and infections, so it's better to be safe than sorry and visit the vet if your dog does suffer from any of these symptoms.



As there is no identified reason as to why dogs get Alabama Rot, unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccination for it yet. However, if your dog is spotted licking any patches of sore skin, you should take them to the vet straight away for blood and urine tests. Hopefully, this will be able to determine if your pooch has Alabama Rot, which can then potentially be treated with antibiotics and painkillers. However, generally, the prognosis for this disease is unfortunately quite poor.

Remember, if your dog has developed kidney failure, they will need to be referred to a specialist as soon as possible. If caught early enough, hopefully your pooch can receive the right treatment.

dog at the vet

If you’re worried about your dog suffering from Alabama Rot, or any other dangerous diseases, be sure to go to the vet straight away and get them checked. To cover illnesses, diseases or injuries, you should always have suitable pet insurance. Here at Asda Money we have a range of pet insurance cover types available. Find out more about Asda Money Pet Insurance here. Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.

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