There has recently been a significant amount of media attention to an outbreak in the UK of a condition which is termed 'Alabama Rot' - AKA Cuteneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy or Greenetrack Disease.
At the time of writing there have been approximately 30 cases within the UK. This condition is characterised by the development of unexplained skin lesions (wounds) and kidney failure. Degeneration of specific structures within the kidneys is thought to be an early event in the progression of the illness.
Within the local area there have been a small number of cases which resemble this condition. Currently diagnostic tests are underway but have not been completed so definitive confirmation is not yet available. 24.4.14 -AT LEAST ONE CASE HAS NOW BEEN CONFIRMED. We have contacted local veterinary surgeries to request information about their experience with this mysterious illness and nearly all have been very swift and comprehensive in their responses. At the moment it would appear that cases seem to be occurring within a triangle in the Hindley, Atherton, Wigan areas. Although rumours have circulated of cases around Rivington, we have not had confirmation of this from any of the vets likely to have seen cases within this area.
The cause of this condition is not yet fully understood, so advice on avoiding it is difficult to give. It has been proposed that there is a link to wooded areas, but this has not been confirmed and other factors, such as unusual dietary patterns have also been suggested.
There are various poster and social media campaigns advising that dogs should not be walked in wooded areas, but there is not enough evidence to suggest whether or not this response would be appropriate or proportional.
Current data suggests that with aggressive veterinary therapy about 20% of cases can survive. Based on this the best advice at the moment would be to contact your vet for advice if you notice any unexplained lesions (marks or wounds) on you dog's skin. While this would be good advice anyway, we would advise doing so with some urgency at the moment as this disease appears to progress very rapidly, sometimes over a 2-3 day period.
To those whose dogs have suffered from this illness we would like to express our sympathy.
Finally, it is worth noting that although this poorly understood condition is very serious and often tragic for those that suffer it, the incidence relative to the number of dogs in the area is currently very low. Be vigilant, but don't let it spoil you and your dog's enjoyment of exercise and each other's companionship.
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Useful information and further links are here:- http://www.forestry.gov.uk/alabamarot
24.4.14 - further update. One case has now been confirmed as 'Alabama Rot'. Sadly, confirmation currently can only be performed on samples taken post mortem. This and other suspected cases appear to be associated with Lilford Park in the Leigh/Atherton area.
Wigan post article here - http://www.wigan.gov.uk/News/Articles/2014/April/Alabama-Rot-in-Wigan-Borough.aspx
We have just reduced the price of microchipping pets to £15. Please contact the surgery on one of the numbers listed below if you would like to know more or would just like to book an appointment to have this done.
We also promote regular worming for cats and dogs. We recommend treating dogs and cats for worms every 3 months, although some (cats which catch prey frequently or dogs with a taste for the more unpleasant things left around parks and paths) may require treatment more often. All year round we offer a discount on a year's supply (at least 4 doses per pet) of worm treatment with most of the wormers we provide. Again, either click on the 'Medication from Horwich' or the 'Medication Westhoughton' tab (above, left) or telephone the surgery from which you would like to collect them.
Horwich:- 01204 694004
Westhoughton:- 01942 818845