Wallace was a 5 year old beagle who we rescued at 13 months old. We tragically lost him in February 2018. Wallace didn’t have skin lesions, all he had was what the vets originally called “a warty growth” on his foot and we were told it was nothing to worry about. A couple of days later I noticed he was limping and raising that foot when walking and he was constantly licking it at home and if I tried to stop him licking he started shaking. He was also very lethargic and not his usual mischievous Beagle self. Again we took him to the vets and they said it looked like he had an infected nail bed on the same foot. Four lethargic days later he seemed even more lethargic than he had been and that morning he would not stop vomiting.
This time the vets said he’d probably just eaten something, if it doesn’t stop bring him back tomorrow they said. The anti nausea meds made no difference and the following day we took him straight back. And this time they took some bloods and we got the horrible phone call that his kidneys appeared to be failing. He was referred to Pride vets in Derby, a specialist hospital and very good facility. They originally suspected leptospirosis so started treatment for that straight away. On the Monday morning we received a worrying phone call and rushed straight there, they were concerned he could deteriorate at any time and that night my partner and I as well as our other Beagle, slept in the car outside the hospital entrance just in case he did suddenly deteriorate we wanted to be with him. But he was a stubborn dog and pulled through the night. He didn’t respond to treatment however and his body wasn’t producing urine so it was looking more and more worrying, but although he wasn’t getting any better he wasn’t getting any worse so we remained hopeful that he might turn it around. We pushed the idea of dialysis and on the Tuesday they did the surgery to insert the internal catheter and the lines required for the peritoneal dialysis. They didn’t even sound confident that he’d make it through the surgery but our little boy proved them wrong and survived it.
We started to become more hopeful because reading up on the dialysis treatment for dogs suffering from acute kidney injury caused by leptospirosis said that in 60% of cases the dog survived. Not amazing odds but it gave us hope. However we got a phone call to say that the first dialysis treatment hadn’t really produced any results but they would give him another one in a couple of hours. After the second treatment they said he had produced ever so slightly more urine but nowhere near what he should be producing. They were however willing to try another lot of treatment the following day but at least he was stable. After another sleepless night (this time at a hotel around the corner) we returned to the hospital in the morning. We had already had some discussions about decisions that might have to be made. We waited in the car for the hospital to open. Shortly after opening one of the vets came out to the car and said we should come inside. They then told us the news we hoped we’d never have to hear. We were told that his organs seemed to have given up and they were currently trying to resuscitate him. It was at this point we decided it was time to let him be. Wallace was a stubborn dog throughout his life and he liked to dictate when it was time to eat, when it was time to play and when it was time to go for his walk, so we almost felt like he’d decided that enough was enough and it was his time to go. We took his body away to a lovely place to have him privately cremated.
We then went back to our local vet to inform her of what had happened. We were then told that whilst Wallace had been in the care of pride they’d also had another dog in from our village with very similar symptoms however this dog had to be put down as they had confirmed Alabama rot.
Hearing this then made us start to become slightly paranoid and a couple of weeks later we noticed a scrape on our other beagle. He went straight to the vets to be checked and thankfully it was nothing more than a scrape. But we also saw the main vet there that owned the practice, he then informed us that they are now almost certain that Wallace had Alabama rot and that had been the cause of the acute kidney injury that had caused Wallace to sadly lose his life at such a young age and that the test for leptospirosis came back negative and the blood test results were all inconclusive.
“We miss our boy so much and think about him every day. We hope his story can raise awareness of this horrible disease and hopefully prevent others from losing their lives far too soon.”