January 24, 2022

Dog owner in warning after pooch catches deadly flesh-eating Alabama Rot disease

A dog owner has warned others after her pet miraculously recovered from the deadly flesh-eating disease Alabama Rot.

Diane Cullen, 37, drove her greyhound Dylan to London so he could receive emergency treatment.

The woman from Seaham, County Durham, said she feared her dog would not survive the disease.

But thankfully, after undergoing treatment for 11 days at the Royal Veterinary College of London, Dylan recovered and returned home with Diane, Chronicle Live reports.

The woman first noticed something was wrong when a cut on her dog’s leg seemed to get worse.

She rushed Dylan to the emergency vets on February 21, where he was eventually diagnosed with Alabama Rot.

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Dylan's owner Diane feared he would not survive the disease
Dylan’s owner Diane feared he would not survive the disease

The vet told Diane it was probably a cut that had got infected but after blood tests and a check on the dog’s kidney levels, Dylan was diagnosed with the disease.

Then, Diane found out about treatment at the Royal Veterinary College in London where a plasma transfer could be carried out, so she decided to bring her dog there – and Dylan was there for 11 days.

She said: “It just felt like it was one thing after another. I was just glued to the phone waiting to hear how he was, I was just on an emotional rollercoaster.

“I said so many goodbyes to him. It was hard but I had to be realistic because of how low the survival rate is.”

However, a week later Diane got the phone call she was hoping for with the vet telling her Dylan was showing signs of improvement.

She said: “I didn’t know if he was going to be lucky enough to be able to get over this but that’s exactly what he did.”

Dylan was diagnosed with Alabama Rot
Dylan was diagnosed with Alabama Rot

Diane was thrilled to make the long journey back to London to bring Dylan home but shortly after he vomited.

An hour after the dog returned home, he was sick again and Diane was told to keep an eye on him and contact the vets if he got any worse.

Dylan was taken to Vets for Pets Sunderland before he was transferred to Weardale Referrals where it was discovered he had a problem with his gallbladder which was affecting his liver.

He was given medication and was back on the mend until he recently developed an E-coli infection.

Diane said: “It’s still not over but I was just thinking if he can get through Alabama Rot he can get through pretty much anything.”

Diane first noticed something was wrong when she saw a cut on Dylan's leg
Diane first noticed something was wrong when she saw a cut on Dylan’s leg

With all his treatment, Dylan has “obliterated” his insurance limit and now Diane needs help to cover his vets fees which are in excess of £7,000 and has since set up a fundraising page.

Diane got Dylan, who is believed to be eight years old, from a rescue centre.

She said: “I think we found each other accidentally. I’ve never had a dog before and one day I woke up and decided I would be a dog walker.

“I contacted a charity and had a little look on their website found Dylan and I just thought that’s going to be my dog.

“After a few months of walking him, I found it harder and harder to leave him.

“Especially during the lockdown, I would have lost my mind without him.

“He adores people, if I take him out for a walk he’s always trying to get to people to say hello, he’s so friendly.

“I’m sure every dog owner says this but he’s just amazing.”

The woman is now urging other dog owners to get their pets checked out if they are concerned about any symptoms.

Alabama Rot, otherwise known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy, is a disease affecting dogs by causing damage to the skin and kidney’s blood vessels, the RSPCA explains.

It can cause small blood clots to form resulting in blockages that can lead to damage of the affected tissue.

The damage causes visible ulceration in the skin, but when the kidney is affected it can lead to severe organ dysfunction and ultimately kidney failure.

If you would like to donate to Diane’s Go Fund Me page, you can do so here.