Two cases of a deadly dog disease have been confirmed in Rickmansworth.

Vet specialist referral centre Anderson Moores has today confirmed a case of Alabama Rot in the town, and this follows another case which was reported in Rickmansworth on March 26.

Although cases of Alabama Rot are rare, in light of these two reports, dog walkers may want to be more vigilant while out walking.

What is Alabama Rot?

Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, commonly known as Alabama rot, is a disease affecting dogs by causing damage to the skin and kidney's blood vessels.

This can cause small blood clots to form resulting in blockages that can lead to damage of the affected tissue. This damage causes visible ulceration in the skin, but when the kidney is affected it can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

How do dogs catch the disease?

The cause of the disease is unknown, and most reports come from pet owners who walk their dogs in the countryside.

Most cases are reported during winter and spring.

Anderson Moores says there have been 37 confirmed cases in England and Wales in 2020, including two in Rickmansworth - although the precise locations are unknown.

After four new cases were confirmed today in Rickmansworth, Oxfordshire, Devon, and Wales, Anderson Moores says there have been 241 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot since 2012.

How do I know if my dog has caught Alabama Rot?

The appearance of skin sores not caused by a known injury is a symptom of Alabama rot. In typical cases, skin lesions have appeared below the knee or elbow and occasionally on the face or at the bottom of the chest or abdomen.

Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin, particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth, are often the first sign of this disease.

It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will not be caused by Alabama Rot; however, the lesions in the disease can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice.

Even if the skin changes are caused by Alabama Rot, many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.

What should I do if I think my dog has Alabama Rot?

The RSPCA urges dog owners to contact their vet immediately if they think their dog is suffering from the disease.

How can I avoid my dog getting Alabama Rot?

The RSPCA says it is advisable to wash of all mud following a wet and muddy walk, especially through woodland.

But the truth is, no organisation has an answer of how to avoid catching the disease, and research is ongoing.

David Walker, the UK’s leading expert on the condition, from Anderson Moores, said: "We are sad to announce more cases from this year, as we are now in the time of year when cases are most common.

"Further confirmed cases mean it is understandably very worrying for dog owners; however, this disease is still very rare, so we’re advising dog owners to remain calm but vigilant, and seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.

"While there is currently no known way to prevent a dog from contracting the disease, any concerned dog owners should visit for advice and a map of confirmed cases.”