As October is approaching I am starting to hear of cases in the UK of dogs contracting alabama rot again. I first heard of the this disease approximately 3-4 years ago with cases of dogs dying of a mysterious disease in the New Forest in Hampshire; not far from my home town. It is now reported almost all over the UK so something to at least be aware of.
What is it?
That is just it; what causes this disease is still unknown. There are a number of investigations taking place and one such investigation is claiming that it is linked where dogs are exercised in muddy, wet, woodland where frogs and other amphibians live and breed. The disease seems to thrive between the months of October to March/April which is when these creatures thrive most.
What are the symptoms?
The first signs are sores, ulcers or lesions appearing on your dogs paws and/or legs. Some cases report these also on the dogs face, mouth and tongue. Any of these I would strongly recommend a veterinary visit quickly because the next stages can be kidney failure, loss of apetite, vomiting and death.
What can I do to protect my dog?
Unfortunately dogs can not be vaccinated against alabama rot but the investigation that is suggesting that it is linked to frogs and amphibians suggests that washing your dog down using ordinary tap water after each walk between October-April can help. This is because our water contains chlorine which frogs and amphians can not survive in.
With this in mind, I have purchased a Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner (a mobile pressure washer). It is brilliant because it is compact and mobile so it doesn't take up much space in the car at all and allows me to power wash the mud and nasties off of my dogs after our walks and before they get back into the car for home. You use ordinary tap water, which makes it perfect to possibly protect my dogs from contracting this awful disease. I bought mine from Amazon and the link is as follows:
If you don't have one of these then rinsing your dogs legs and under carriage off at home using your hose pipe is just as good.
My dog doesn't like being hosed down!
Some dogs don't like the noise a pressure washer makes or does not like to be hosed down. One of my dogs was exactly the same so I started by introducing him to the pressure washer by switching it on beside him and just giving him treats. I then sprayed the water near to him but not at him or on him whilst continuing to feed him some tasty treats. That was enough for stage one but on stage two he was comfortable enough to allow me to start spraying him with the water. I always start washing the dogs back legs first and gradually move forward to their under belly and front legs. Give treats if necessary and a thorough towel rub down afterwards. You can use the same procedure using a hose pipe but like all things keep sessions short and fun and respect the information your dog is giving you.
I hope this information has been of use to you. I up-date on these subjects regularly as new information is reported.
Keep safe and enjoy your autumn season :-)