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Alabama Rot in Dogs


Alabama Rot,  or Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculophathy (CRGV) is unfortunately still part of our life with dogs. We must all be aware of the symptoms and results of this very serious disease which can be picked up from damp woody areas, or very wet muddy areas.

Legs and feet must always be washed on returning from woodland or wetland walks.

Alabama Rot damages the blood vessels in the skin which can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimate kidney failure.

Look for Lesions on feet and lower legs, on the mouth, face and lower body, these can be quite painful and will endues excessive licking and biting around these sore areas.  It may look like just a sore paw, but monitor it closely and take the dog to the vet if you are concerned.

Alabama Rot is not contagious and cannot be passed from one dog to another.  The worse months for this to be picked up are from November to May so please take care during these winter months.

Hereditary Atexia


Hereditary Ataxia is caused by a faulty gene passed on through bloodlines, who may or may not have been affected.

There are different types of Ataxia, but in dogs it is Cerebellum Ataxia which is caused by lesions in the Cerebellum, which is the portion of the brain that controls the movement. Affected dogs might have a “drunken”, “staggering” gait, and frequently have a “goose stepping” movement of the front limbs.

Signs of cerebellar disease include: dogs having an uncoordinated gait, with stilted "toy soldier" leg movements. They can display "intention tremors," where a stretched out limb or head shakes more and more violently.

This is not common in Elkhounds, and we have never had a reported case in the UK.

There have, however been reported and confirmed cases in other countries, particularly in Europe, and this is why it is advisable to have the test done.            `

Plants toxic to dogs

These plants can be dangerous to your dog, especially if they eat large amounts:

  • Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

  • Azalea/rhododendrons (Rhododendron species)

  • Bluebells (Hyacinthoides species)

  • Common poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster species)

  • Crocuses (Crocus species)

  • Daffodils (Narcissus species)

  • Dumbcane (Diffenbachia species)

  • Foxgloves (Digitalis species)

  • Garden star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)

  • Grape vine fruits (Vitis vinifera)

  • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)

  • Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

  • Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) – look out for conkers in autumn that can cause problems such as gut blockages

  • Hyaciniths (Hyacinthus orientalis)

  • Ivy (Hedera helix)

  • Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides)

  • Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

  • Mistletoe (viscum Album)

  • Onion and garlic plants (Allium species)

  • Oak (Quercus species) – look out for acorns in autumn that can cause problems such as gut blockages

  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)

  • Potato plants (Solanum tuberosum)

  • Pieris plants (Pieris species)

  • Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

  • Rhubarb plants (Rheum species)

  • Snowdrops (Galanthus)

  • Tulips (Tulipa species)

  • Yew (Taxus species)

Not all parts of these plants will be toxic, for example in some plants only the bulbs or berries will cause problems. But it's better to keep your dog away from the whole plant to be safe. 

Most of these toxic plants will only cause mild symptoms, but some can be more serious, especially if your dog eats lots of them in a short time. 

Remember, this isn’t a complete list and there are plants that haven’t yet been identified as toxic to dogs, but could still be a danger to them.

Symptoms of plant poisoning in dogs

  • Drooling

  • Not eating

  • Low energy

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea – especially if bits of chewed up plants are in it

  • Drinking or weeing more

  • Rashes

  • Red skin

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Pale gums

  • Twitching or seizures

  • Collapse

If your dog eats a poisonous plant or is showing any signs of toxicity, call your vet immediately.

Garden hazards for dogs

It’s not just plants that can be a danger to your dog when they’re out for a walk or playing in the garden. Here are some other hazards to avoid.

Compost and grass clippings

These can contain dangerous moulds or bacteria. Keep any compost in a secure bin.

Fungi and mushrooms

Mostly seen in autumn, especially in warm, damp conditions. Not all types of fungi are dangerous, but some can be life-threatening if your dog eats them. So it’s best to avoid them completely.

Pesticides, weed killers and fertilisers

These often contain products which are toxic to pets. Avoid spraying any areas your dog usually visits and put up barriers or covers to keep pets out of any areas that you need to treat. 

Grass seeds

Grass seeds can get stuck in your dog’s skin, especially in their paws, armpits and ears. They can cause irritation, infection and even spread to other parts of the body, leading to potentially serious problems. 

Grass seeds aren’t just a hazard if you’re re-seeding your lawn, they are also common in fields of long grass, especially in spring and summer.

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