Alabama Rot (5th October, 2015)


We thought that we should inform as many dog owners as possible about this condition, as it is a killer.

Barney lived with his family in Yarnfield, just outside Stone in Staffordshire. All of his walks were on footpaths in and around the village, especially Highlows Lane. One current theory is that this condition may come from rotting vegetation, so Barney may have caught it on one of the footpaths, the village green or even his own garden.
The obvious worry is that if Barney caught it, so could Ringo the other Cairn in his family.

Until two weeks ago we were the proud owners of two young Cairns. Barney contracted what the vets believe to be Alabama Rot which gets in through the skin and causes kidney failure. Barney was a young, fit, active and very healthy dog who would have been three in November. Within three days of the earliest signs, he was taken from us (29/09/2015).

Our other Cairn, Ringo, is seven months younger and his behaviour has changed noticeably over the past fortnight. I suspect that this is because for the first time in his life he is coming to terms with being alone. He has lost his companion and playmate.

Barney started off with a furious chewing of his paws. He was fitted with a cone collar, but did not worry too much at first as he had done this once before. The emergency vet was phoned on Sunday, when the lack of appetite and the lethargy started.
We dosed Barney with Piriton, as advised, and booked an appointment for early Monday morning. The vet we saw was more concerned with the gastric upset which had developed by then and wanted to fix that as a priority.

We were booked in again for early Tuesday morning, by which time Barney had lost all of his energy. He was made an in-patient and treated for leptospirosis – an IV drip and antibiotics. Barney was completely up to date with his annual jabs.
By late Tuesday he was not responding at all and deteriorating fast.
It was the evening duty vet who considered it was Alabama Rot and matched the symptoms completely, but he did say that the treatment would have been the same as for leptospirosis.
We were called late in the evening with a last chance to see him alive but were urged to consider having him put to sleep. In the ten minutes it took us to get there he had slipped away. We were at least spared the pain of authorising the lethal injection.

Sue and Shaun.

From Cairn Rescue:
Our hearts go out to Sue and Shaun in their devastating loss of Barney, and we thank them for allowing their very sad story of Barney to be published.

Forestry Commission information on Alabama Rot can be found here.

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