Could Alabama Rot be similar to Leishmaniasis?

2006 Frank Collins Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies, injecting the infective stage (i.e., promastigotes) from their proboscis during blood meals. Promastigotes that reach the puncture wound are phagocytized by macrophages ,and other types of mononuclear phagocytic cells, and inside these cells, transform into the tissue stage of the parasite (i.e., amastigotes), which multiply by simple division and proceed to infect other mononuclear phagocytic cells. Parasite, host, and other factors affect whether the infection becomes symptomatic and whether cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis results. Sandflies become infected by ingesting infected cells during blood meals. In sandflies, amastigotes transform into promastigotes, develop in the gut, (in the hindgut for leishmanial organisms in the Viannia subgenus; in the midgut for organisms in the Leishmania subgenus), and migrate to the proboscis. See PHIL 3400 for a diagram of this cycle.
2006, Frank Collins. Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies…

Update 19th October 2016

Laura Holm of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester today sent an email to Laura wrote:

“I was looking at and noticed the thread about Leishmaniasis. I just wanted to let you know that we are confident that CRGV is not caused by the Leishmaniasis for a number of reasons: There are significant clinical differences between CRGV and Leishmaniasis. Additionally, Leishmaniasis can be readily diagnosed when a post mortem examination is conducted, and none of the dogs with CRGV had compatible post mortem findings.”

Could Alabama Rot be similar to Leishmaniasis?

Further to a comment yesterday by Margaret Hughes, I’ve published my draft post from June 8th 2015.

Canine Leishmaniasis (wikipedia) is:

“a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania parasites transmitted by the bite of an infected phlebotomine sandfly… Symptoms include skin lesions and kidney injury.”

The life cycle of L. infantum with indication of proven and unproven non-sandfly routes of transmission to dogs.

Laura Holm and others said:

“Skin lesions are not commonly associated with AKI in dogs,
unless the AKI has resulted from immune-mediated disease
(Fournel and others 1992), certain neoplasms (Moore and others 1994), infectious diseases (Ferrer and others 1988) or vascular events, such as vasculopathy (Goldfarb and Adler 2001).”

The infectious disease reference by Ferrer and others 1988 is titled “Skin lesions in Canine Leishmaniasis”.  It was republished (preview) in 2008:

“Canine leishmaniasis is a severe, often fatal disease of the dog caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani”

The following report stated that 20 foxhounds dogs in New York died of Leishmania in 1999/2000:

” … due to infection with the protozoan parasite
Leishmania spp… The dogs had … clinical signs including wasting, hemorrhage, seizures, weight
loss, hair loss, skin lesions, kidney failure, and
swollen limbs and joints. Testing revealed that
42% of adult dogs at the kennel were
serologically positive for antibodies against
Leishmania, and the organism was isolated from
15 seropositive dogs.” (ref:

Infection with Canine leishmaniasis induces:

“a cytokine response which results in over-exuberant antibody production. Excessive immune-complex formation results in the development of lesions in the kidneys, joints, eye and blood vessel walls.” (ref:

Dogs can take several years to show symptoms after infection:

“After being bitten, there is an interval of one month to several years before dogs become ill. In these dogs, the parasite lies dormant, sometimes for years before a stressor allows the parasite to multiply and cause disease. In virtually all dogs, it spreads throughout the body to the internal organs such as the liver, kidney and spleen, causing a chronic, debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease, with many dogs dying of kidney failure.” (ref: yourvet)

Alabama Rot attacks the skin and kidneys only, not the liver or spleen. But could Alabama Rot be similar to Leishmaniasis?

One Reply to “Could Alabama Rot be similar to Leishmaniasis?”

  1. With the best will in the world, it’s puzzling to see this sort of thing headlining here.

    Well, yes, it IS similar. But so are the other 101 ways a dog can get skin lesions (including exposure to radioactive fallout, by the way). If only the is the cause could be that simple and convenient. I read plenty about CUTANEOUS signs but nothing about RENAL, just liver and something else – not kidney.

    Let’s think this through. The epidemiology kinda rules out this sort of thing, unless we suddenly got an influx of infected sand flies – all over the country at the same time – about four years ago, or one or two energetic sand flies flew all the way around the country biting the odd dog here and there in all the different locations where CRGV suddenly sprang up.

    Oh, yes, and talking about locations, one of the major risks for Leishmaniasis is deforestation – get it? DE-forestation. CRGV, on the other hand seems to LOVE forests, doesn’t it? Not much hope there.

    And what about the location on the dog? Does Leishmaniasis attack just paws, legs and underbelly? Not so far as I have read.

    Do sand flies die off in summer, or are they more numerous? If so, then that kinda rules out spread by insects, doesn’t it?

    That’s just off the top of my head, don’t know about all the other signs of CRGV – blood coming out of just about any orifice, jaundice and God-knows-what.

    Then there are the victims of Leishmaniasis – humans and other animals too. In short – and sadly, there seem to be far more DIFFERENCES than there are similarities.

    Not so with radiation burn/poisoning from radioactive particles. From what I can see, radiation exposure matches ALL the symptoms and patterns of CRGV, and as the vets admit they have never looked for it, and appear to be sadly misinformed about it, they are in a poor position to deny the possibility.

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