What are the symptoms of Alabama Rot?
If your dog has skin lesions, Alabama Rot might be the cause. Alabama Rot is fatal in 90% of cases.
The lesions appear as a recent skin abnormality (a swelling, patch of red skin or defect in the skin or small wound or ulcer). Lesions are typically the size of a 5 pence or 50 pence piece (0.5cm to 5cm in diameter) (2) and can appear anywhere on the dog.
If you see a lesion, immediately take your dog to your vet. Make sure you immediately get a referral from your vet to David Walker at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (the countries leading Alabama Rot specialists).
David advises you see your vet immediately if your dog gets a skin wound.
“if you see a skin wound on your dog don’t just leave it. Ordinarily you might leave that for 24, 48 hours – I would say don’t do that, get down to your local vet.” (3)
Within one to nine days the affected dogs have signs of kidney disease including vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness. (2) Nine out of ten dogs are dead within 10 days.
To veterinary pathologists it looks like a disease found in racing greyhounds in the USA which they call ‘Alabama rot’ and is more precisely known as ‘idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV)’. In layman’s terms this means: ‘there’s something damaging the blood vessels in the skin and the kidneys but we don’t know what’. (1)
What is the trigger for Alabama Rot?
We don’t know. It could be something in the environment or it could be genetic.
David Walker of Anderson Moores said (from 1 min) in March 2014:
It could be something in the environment such as bacteria or viruses that are releasing toxins that affect the dog or it could be an idiopathic disease which arises spontaneously (and not in the environment at all) which is intrinsic to the dog, such as its genetics.
In January 2014 David Walker on ‘Inside Science’ (from 24 minutes for 5 minutes) said (at 26 minutes):
Alabama Rot disease in dogs has similarities to haemolytic uremic syndrome in people – this is caused by a shigatoxin from E.Coli bacteria. Dogs ingesting a toxin might be triggering Alabama Rot.
(1) ‘Alabama Rot – an emerging disease’http://miramarvets.co.uk/alabama-rot-emerging-disease/ (accessed 24th February 2015)
(2) Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists ‘Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury’, http://www.andersonmoores.com/vet/news/ (accessed 24th February 2015)
(3) BBC report on John Tricker and ‘Barney’ (accessed 24th February 2015)