What is Alabama rot?

  • Alabama rot is a disease that damages blood vessels in the skin and kidney. It causes blood to clot in the vessels which damages the lining and the delicate tissues of the kidneys. This causes ulcers on a dog’s skin, but sadly it causes kidney failure in the kidneys, which can be fatal.
  • The cause of Alabama rot is unknown, but most dogs that need treatment have walked in muddy woodland areas. More cases are reported between November and May which suggests the dogs are more likely to be affected in winter and spring.
  • It can affect any dog of any breed, age, or size.
  • Alabama rot is not thought to affect cats or rabbits.


  • The first signs you may notice if your dogs has contracted Alabama rot are lesions or ulcers on the skin. These could appear as a patch of red skin, or as an open ulcer or sore.
  • These sores are most commonly found on a dog’s paws or lower legs, but they can also be found on a dog’s face, mouth or tongue, or on their lower body.
  • If your dog is showing signs of sore skin or ulcers on an area of their body that is close to the floor then contact us.
  • On average, dogs suffer from kidney failure about three days after lesions begin to show on the skin, however the time between sores appearing and kidney failure can be between one and 10 days.
  • Signs of kidney failure include loos of appetite, tiredness and vomiting.
  • The earlier this disease is caught and treated by a vet, the higher the chances of recovery.


  • The treatment for the skin is usually a course of antibiotics but if Alabama rot is suspected then a blood and urine test will be undertaken to check the kidney functions and appropriate treatment would then start.
  • Unfortunately, this is a fatal disease and only one in ten dogs survive.


  • Only prevention is ensuring dogs are thoroughly washed if they get muddy on a walk or keep them out of muddy areas
  • Checking your dog’s body once a day for lumps and bumps is a good habit for all dog owners to get in to, and checking them regularly for the signs listed above.

There have been 153 confirmed cases in the UK between November 2012 and March 2018 and the most common areas are Dorset, New Forest, Wiltshire, Sussex and Surrey.

If you notice symptoms of Alabama rot then please contact us immediately at any of our four surgeries!