Help us stop Alabama Rot. Donate to the Alabama Rot Research Fund (see below).
This post reports the closure of AlabamaRot.co.uk maps and donations. So now, Vets4Pets will host the confirmed Alabama Rot map and the Alabama Rot Research Fund will collect donations.
If your dog gets skin lesions or other symptoms consult your vet, without delay. “Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin (on the paws, legs, body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of this disease.” (AMVS, Feb 2016) After five years, we still don’t know what causes Alabama Rot. From analysis by AlabamaRot.co.uk, we do know that 90% of confirmed cases have been in the six months during Winter and Spring (December – May). Information about Alabama Rot / CRGV for dog owners from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (AMVS).
A review of 30 cases of Alabama Rot asks: “What causes CRGV in dogs? Unfortunately, the cause is unknown at the moment, but there is one strong candidate – aHUS (atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome).”
The Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) is sponsoring in 2020 a three year PhD studentship – ‘The role of the microbiome and circulating endothelial cells in the pathobiology of cutaneous renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)’.
‘Initial findings have shown that the gut microflora (bacterial/bug population) of dogs affected by CRGV differs significantly from healthy dogs’.
David Woodmansey on May 09, 2019 in Vet Times reports. We quote:
“In 2018, to the end of March, 34 cases of Alabama rot were confirmed in the UK. In 2019, to the end of March, there have been 10 confirmed cases.
Confirmed cases of the mystery, often lethal canine disease cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) are down in the UK for the first three months of 2019, compared to 2018.
The disease, commonly known as Alabama rot, appears to have a seasonal distribution with most cases being reported between November and May, but unknown aetiology.
Multidisciplinary investigations have proved inconclusive, although anecdotal evidence suggests a link to dogs walked on cold, wet, muddy terrain.
Dealing with cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy in dogs
by Laura Holm and David Walker
Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is a disease of dogs, first reported in racing greyhounds in the USA during the 1980s. The disease causes erosive to ulcerative skin lesions, predominantly affecting the limbs, ventrum and oral cavity; however, a proportion of dogs develop more severe systemic abnormalities, including thrombocytopenia, anaemia and acute kidney injury. The disease was first reported in the UK in 2000, in a single pet greyhound. Since 2012, over 160 cases of CRGV have been confirmed in a wide range of dog breeds; no age or bodyweight predilection has been identified. To date, the cause of CRGV in dogs remains unknown. This article provides a review of the history and clinical signs and advises practitioners on the current approaches to dealing with the condition.
The articles includes:
- History of the disease in domestic
- Thrombotic microangiopathies in people
- Current knowledge of CRGV in the UK
- Clinical signs
- Investigating suspected cases
- Approach to cases without apparent
Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)
- Approach to cases developing AKI
Kim Stevens, Dan O’Neill, Rosanne Jepson, Laura Holm, David Walker and Jacqueline Cardwell have a paper published in Vet Record (1), available for free courtesy of Sci-Hub / sci-hub.tw/10.1136/vr.104892
AlabamaRot.co.uk blogged about the funding for this Kim Stevens managed project, in October 2017.
“The annual outbreaks of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) reported in UK dogs display a distinct seasonal pattern (November to May) suggesting possible climatic drivers of the disease. The objectives of this study were to explore disease clustering and identify associations between agroecological factors and CRGV occurrence. … The majority of diagnoses (92 per cent) were reported between November and May while the number of regions reporting the disease increased between 2012 and 2017. Two significant spatiotemporal clusters were identified—one in the New Forest during February and March 2013, and one adjacent to it (April 2015 to May 2017)—showing significantly higher and lower proportions of cases than the rest of the UK, respectively, for the indicated time periods. A moderately significant high-risk cluster (P=0.087) was also identified in the Manchester area of northern England between February and April 2014. Habitat was the predictor with the highest relative contribution to CRGV distribution (20.3 per cent). Cases were generally associated with woodlands, increasing mean maximum temperatures in winter, spring and autumn, increasing mean rainfall in winter and spring and decreasing cattle and sheep density. Understanding such factors may help develop causal models for CRGV occurrence.”
When does CRGV occur?
See figure 1 below:
The heat map shows that the much higher prevalence of CRGV in November-May compared to June-October.
Where are most cases?
See Figure 3 below
CRGV by Breed
Of the five most commonly specified breeds in the study population (labrador retriever, Staffordshire bull terrier, Jack Russell terrier, cocker spaniel and German shepherd dog), three were under-represented among CRGV dogs: Staffordshire bull terriers, Jack Russell terriers and German shepherd dogs. Conversely, breeds that were over-represented among CRGV dogs were generally the less common breeds such as English springer spaniels, Whippet, Hungarian Vizsla, Flat-coated retriever and Manchester terrier. See Table 1 in the report.
Predicting CRGV location
“In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that gun dogs and hounds have an increased risk of developing CRGV in the UK, while toy dogs and terriers appear to be the breed groups least at risk. Specific breeds with increased odds of CRGV included Hungarian vizslas, flat-coated retrievers, whippets and English springer spaniels. As well as helping veterinarians develop an index of suspicion for the disease, an understating of the breeds at risk may help to develop causal models for CRGV, and potentially play a role in identifying the aetiology of the disease. However, further studies investigating the distribution of specific breeds and breed groups in the UK, and the factors driving these distributions, would help to determine whether the high-risk breeds and breed groups identified in this study are indeed inherently more disposed to being diagnosed with CRGV or whether the results stem from an increased proportion of such breeds in areas of greater risk.”
(1) Stevens, KB., Jepson, R., Holm, LP., Walker, DJ., Cardwell, JM. (2018) Spatiotemporal patterns and agroecological risk factors for cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (Alabama Rot) in dogs in the UK Veterinary Record Published Online First: 27 August 2018. doi: 10.1136/vr.104892
Vet Times October 12th 2018 reports that fish vet Dr Fiona Macdonald has revealed further possible links between cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) affecting dogs, and the UK amphibian disease red-leg syndrome (see 2015 blog post by AlabamaRot.co.uk).
Aeromonas hydrophila (A hydrophila) bacteria may be involved in the cause or aetiology of CRGV (Alabama rot). The bacterium is found in watercourses and soil and is associated with diseases of fish and amphibians. A hydrophila causes ulcerative skin lesions in fish, with subsequent kidney failure. In amphibians (frogs, toads and newts} the bacteria causes ‘red-leg syndrome’ -redness of the skin, open sores which can result in death.
“Dr Macdonald developed a serology test with Biobest Laboratories to look at the possibility of antibodies to A hydrophila. Samples were obtained from veterinary practices around the country – from Aberdeenshire to the south-west of England – mainly from both suspected and confirmed cases of CRGV, as well as in-contact dogs”, reports Vet Times.
She found some dogs showed antibody response to A. hydrophila which has a similar UK geographical spread pattern to CRGV.
Dr Macdonald observed: “Although A hydrophila is implicated in a major disease problem in amphibians – red-leg syndrome – this is associated with a Ranavirus*. There is some evidence the Ranavirus may be the primary pathogen, with the A hydrophila as an opportunist”, reports Vet Times.
*Ranavirus is a virus that infects amphibians (Wikipedia). Read about co-infection of amphibians with Ranavirus and A hydrophila.
Read more in Vet Times October 12th 2018.
On 12th June 2018, Victoria Prentis MP (Conservative, Banbury) wrote:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is carrying out research to evaluate the cause of and potential threats posed by Alabama Rot to dogs in the UK; and if he will make a statement.”
George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) replied on 20th June:
“A private veterinary group is coordinating an investigation into the cause of the syndrome known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) in the UK, which is sometimes referred to as Alabama rot. The Animal and Plant Health Agency has been engaging with this investigation since the outset and continues to do so.”
Source: Hansard HC Deb, 20 June 2018, cW
I assume the private veterinary group is Anderson Moores.
A petition was started on 2nd March 2018 requesting DEFRA to fund CRGV (Alabama Rot) research:
“Unfortunately, we have to confirm a further ten cases of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (often termed CRGV or Alabama Rot). The cases were from Chippenham (Wiltshire), Taunton (Somerset), Westhoughton (G.Manchester), Chulmleigh (Devon), Lydney (Gloucestershire), Tonypandy (Rhondda Cynon Taf), Longhope (Gloucestershire), Salford (G.Manchester), South Molton (Devon) and Brecon (Powys).”
This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 132 since 2012, with 12 cases in 2018. We continue to advise owners to be vigilant and to seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions/sores.
For help recognising some of the signs and to see a map of confirmed cases please visit www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/”