PDSA vets warn dog owners to take care during walks after Paris fell victim to Alabama Rot

Four-year-old Shih Tzu, Paris, sadly could not be saved from a fatal disease called Alabama Rot. Now, PDSA vets are warning dog owners to take extra care while out walking.

Paris developed a mysterious wound on her paw a few days after walking in Moses Gate, Farnworth. Her concerned owner Shannon Wilson (23), took her to the PDSA Pet Hospital in Stretford for a check-up.

Within a week, the wound had become inflamed and swollen, Paris became sick and lost her appetite. Blood tests taken by PDSA revealed kidney failure.

Despite our vets’ best efforts, Paris could not be saved. She fell victim to the devastating disease, Alabama Rot. Little known until recently, it causes unexplained skin sores or wounds and can quickly progress to irreversible and fatal kidney damage.

Sadly, Paris was put to sleep just two weeks after first showing symptoms of the disease.

Her devastated owner Shannon, said: “We are bereft after losing Paris. We couldn’t have had a more loving dog. She deteriorated so quickly; it was incredibly frightening to see. We had no idea what the symptoms were, and I’d never even heard of Alabama Rot, so it’s been a complete shock to all the family.

“I want to warn other pet owners of the dangers of this disease and to take extra care when out walking. Paris was only four and has gone far too soon.” 

Alabama Rot is a potentially fatal disease that damages dogs’ blood vessels, cutting off blood supply to areas of the skin and sometimes the internal organs. This damage causes skin sores and can lead to kidney failure.

PDSA Vet, Emma Deards, said: “Despite extensive research in this area, vets are still not sure what causes the disease and how to prevent it. Following this confirmed diagnosis of Alabama Rot in Manchester, vets and owners are understandably concerned. Washing mud off your dog after a wet or muddy walk may help, but this has yet to be proven as an effective method of prevention.

“The important thing for owners to do is check their dogs after every walk for any unexplained redness or sores on the skin, particularly on their paws, legs, face, mouth or tongue. In many cases, the cause of these sores will not be Alabama Rot, but a vet needs to examine your dog and rule it out. Not all dogs with Alabama Rot develop kidney failure, but

it’s vital to monitor suspected cases closely so we can spot and treat the signs early to give pets the best chance of survival.”

Cases of Alabama Rot seem to be more common in spring and winter, and it is often reported in dogs that have been walked in a muddy or woodland area, so it’s essential to be vigilant and take your dog to your vet if you have any concerns.

Signs of kidney failure include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

If your dog is displaying these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary help.

Find out more about Alabama Rot.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. Through our 48 Pet Hospitals and Pet Care scheme, we save the lives of poorly pets who would otherwise be left untreated.

Every year, we helped over 388,000 pets. Without us, emergency cases like Paris' would be left untreated and many pets could lose their lives or be separated from families who love them.

We wouldn’t be here for dogs like Paris without your support. Please consider donating today.

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Where to next

Alabama Rot

Alabama rot is a rare but potentially deadly disease that affects dogs by damaging the blood vessels in their skin and kidneys.

Find out more about Alabama Rot

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