The BBC report Royal Veterinary College researcher Dr Kim Stevens who confirms that about 60% of cases of Alabama rot, which has killed more than 100 dogs in the UK, occur in the first three months of the year.
New research by Kim Stevens has started to try and discover more about the risk factors and spread of the disease. The cause of the disease, which first occurred in the UK in 2012, is still unknown. However, researchers have found there are more cases in autumn and winter. Most deaths caused by the disease have happened in Hampshire, Dorset and Greater Manchester*.
The disease causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth. Some dogs can also develop life-threatening kidney failure.
Dr Kim Stevens, of the Royal Veterinary College, said her research, expected to conclude by the end of the year, would not identify the specific cause of the disease. She said it was instead designed to look for geographical patterns, as well as environmental and climatic risk factors. A “very obvious” pattern already found was linked to seasons, she added:
“There are limited cases over the summer whereas everything starts to pick up in November and at least 60% of the cases occur in the first three months of the year, so it’s very much an autumn/winter pattern that we’re looking at.”
UK dog deaths from Alabama rot since 2012
County Durham 2
Dumfries and Galloway 1
East Sussex 3
Greater Manchester 12
North Yorkshire 1
West Sussex 3
West Yorkshire 2
Wrexham 1 Source: Royal Veterinary College/Stop Alabama Rot
* from the list of dog deaths by county, 40 of the 101 confirmed deaths since 2012 occurred in Dorset, Hampshire or Greater Manchester.
Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart. A value of 100 is the peak popularity of the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise, a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak.
I attended the Reading Alabama Rot conference on Wednesday 10th May 2017. The conference was organised by David Walker and Laura Holm from Anderson Moores. There were 30 attendees and Bayer kindly paid travel expenses.
Today I received a very nice email from Anderson Moores:
Subject: RE: May 10th Conference
David and I would like to extend our sincere thanks to you for attending the meeting yesterday.
Your input was very valuable and we really appreciate you making time to be there. Thank you also for taking time to look into and print off the case distributions by month / season.
Thank you so much again,
With kindest regards,
Laura and David
Laura Holm BVM&S CertSAM MRCVS
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Medicine
David Walker BVetMed (Hons) DipACVIM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS,
American and European Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine
Information about the Reading conference will be posted online soon.
In the 1980s only greyhounds in Alabama got Alabama Rot
No greyhounds in the UK have got Alabama Rot
Alabama Rot has not ‘spread’ – “it has been everywhere the whole time” since 2012. The localisation in the New Forest initially arose due to awareness of the disease by vets in that area since AMVS of Winchester had been talking to local vets. (8m 33s)
Damage to smaller blood vessels caused by blood clots causes organs, like the kidney, to fail and to cause skin sores, typically below the elbow or knee in dogs.
The true cause of the disease is not known, despite incredibly hard work looking for infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. We’ve also looked for toxins in the dog and the environment. (10m 06s)
Alabama Rot / CRGV has some similarity to some diseases in people so we can use this human data to consider how to approach the disease in dogs.
With 98 reported confirmed cases of dogs that have lost their lives across the UK since 2012, Alabama Rot is a rare disease. [8.5M UK dog population] (11m 06s)
“We strongly suspect there is an environmental trigger to Alabama Rot” (11m 06s)
Since hundreds of dogs will walk in an area but maybe only one dog will contract Alabama Rot, it may be that dogs that have been infected with Alabama Rot have some intrinsic predisposition to the disease and the environmental trigger.
Washing dogs legs after a walk is not scientifically based advice – but it can’t do any harm. (12m 02s)
We need more money to do research to try to improve survival rates and find the cause so that preventative measures can be introduced. (12m 57s)
“We strongly suspect there is an environmental trigger to Alabama Rot. It may be that dogs that have been affected have some intrinsic disposition to Alabama Rot…” (11m 06s)
In addition, Radio 4 Today Programme (from 2 hours 57m 30s) had a 2-minute report by Gabrielle Williams whose dog died in March 2017 and David Walker.