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Alabama Foot Rot is called that because it was first diagnosed in the US in Alabama and in greyhounds; more so in greyhounds than anywhere else. And this was in the 1980s. Alabama Foot Rot is becoming a problem in the UK. It was first confirmed in 2012 in the UK and since then we have had more cases year-on-year. There is not a clear cause of the Alabama Foot Rot at present. There is a lot of research going into what causes it and the treatment that we can use to treat it as well. But for the moment, we believe there may be an environmental factor. So, it may be that animals that are going in wet, muddy areas are contracting the causative agent from those areas. But this is not proven and it is just a potential environmental factor. We tend to see more cases between November and May, which is another reason why we think it may be from muddy, watery, woodland areas.

The causative agent initially causes lesions on the lower part of the foot or the lower part of the leg. So, anywhere from the foot and around the carpus or on the back leg around the hock. These lesions will normally look like ulcers, where the skin is being eaten away. And they can come up very quickly. So, if you do get ulceration around the lower part of the limb and your pet has been in these environments, then it is a consideration. If they only get the skin lesions themselves, then them in themselves that they are not fatal. However, the causative agent of the Alabama Foot Rot will then, or can then, travel to the kidneys and cause fatal kidney damage. This can happen within a day or two of the ulcers appearing on the limb. So, it is always worth getting those ulcers checked out and if we are concerned that it may be the Alabama Foot Rot, then we will be testing to see if it has spread to the kidneys. Unfortunately, treatment is not very rewarding and a lot of these cases, where the Alabama Foot Rot has spread to the kidneys, do unfortunately die.