A dog afflicted with the potentially deadly disease

THE first case of the deadly dog disease Alabama Rot has been discovered in Dublin following the death of a family pet in Ranelagh.
The dog had been out for a walk with its owners in Masseys Woods in the Dublin Mountains just days prior to the onset of the flesh-eating bug.
The case was managed at the UCD Veterinary Hospital in early February, but the final post-mortem result was not received until late March.
Pete Wedderburn – AKA TV’s Pete The Vet – told The Gazette this week that the unfortunate animal was brought to the vet in Ranelagh with a number of complaints.
He said: “The dog presented with a large, necrotic ventral skin lesion, lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, icterus [jaundice], azotaemia [high kidney parameters] and increased liver enzyme activities.
“These are typical of Alabama Rot, but diagnosis is complex, requiring follow-up studies including biopsies etc.”
This the first case of Alabama Rot in Dublin and the second case nationally following the death of a dog in Co Wexford in January 2015.
There are some theories that the disease may be caused by a toxin from E Coli bacteria, found in rotting woodland vegetation or in woodland water courses and ponds.
Pete said while he doesn’t welcome the news of the first case of the disease being found in Dublin, it is important to remember that it is exceptionally rare.
He said: “I think it’s important to stress how rare this disease is – a dog is more likely to be struck by lightning than get this disease, so people shouldn’t be worried.”
Pete urged pet owners to keep going for walks with their dogs in Masseys Woods as the area does not pose any immediate threat to dogs.
“I’ve heard some people say they’re not going to go and walk their dog in that area any more and that’s just not necessary. The risk is tiny – it is still safe to walk in Massey’s Woods.
“It’s really a mystery how the dog got this disease, but to me the main message to get out there is that people shouldn’t ignore it when their dog seems sick.
“If your dog develops a strange rash or if your dog starts to behave in a way that’s unusual and not like their normal selves, then you should go to the vet, because when dogs die of this you always wonder if perhaps they had got to the vet earlier, could they have been saved.”
Pete said some dogs survive Alabama Rot, but one of the main problems is making the diagnosis.
He added: “It’s quite possible that dogs may get this, may be treated, and may recover, but the samples needed to make the diagnosis, such as kidney biopsies, are never done.
“So we’ve maybe seen this more often than we realise, but dogs may be recovering. It’s all just a bit of a mystery, really.”

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