“Although CRGV can be very serious, the number of dogs affected with skin lesions and kidney failure remains low (56 confirmed cases across the UK between November ‘12 and May ‘15)” (3)
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot is a disease that is fatal in 9 out of 10 dogs. Any dog can get Alabama Rot, anywhere in the UK. In the UK, between November 2012 and May 2015, 56 dogs have been confirmed with Alabama Rot (see map).
“Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama rot’) is a serious disease which has only recently been recognised in dogs in the UK. It causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected. CRGV is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure). What is CRGV? CRGV is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction
(kidney failure) ” (3)
What are the Symptoms of Alabama Rot?
The first symptoms of Alabama Rot are skin lesions, ulcers or sores, not caused by any known injury. These appear on the legs, body, mouth or tongue (see column on right). The dog will lick at the sores. Within days, dogs get symptoms of acute kidney injury (vomiting, reduced hunger or unusual tiredness).
What causes CRGV?
“The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are ongoing. The disease has been under investigation by Anderson
Moores Veterinary Specialists (working closely with a number of other organisations) for almost 3 years. Many possible causes, such as common bacterial infections and exposure to
toxins, have been ruled out.” (3)
How do I stop my dog from getting CRGV?
“Unfortunately, as the cause is currently unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention. You may wish to consider bathing any area of your dog which becomes wet or muddy on a walk; however, at this stage we do not know if this is necessary or of any benefit.” (3)
Is a vaccine available for Alabama Rot?
“We have been contacted by a number of concerned clients asking if a vaccine is available to protect against CRGV. Unfortunately the underlying cause of CRGV is not known and therefore a vaccine cannot be developed.”
What should I do if my dog has these symptoms?
If you see a dog licking any skin lesions, ulcers or sores not caused by any known injury, take the dog to a vet without delay. The vet will confirm whether or not it is Alabama Rot (most cases will not be Alabama Rot). The quicker treatment can be started, the greater is the chance of your dog surviving.
As the disease is extremely rare, most vets will never have treated a dog with Alabama Rot. So ask your vet to refer your dog to Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists – this practise have the best Alabama Rot survival rates.
How is CRGV treated?
“If your dog develops a skin lesion your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Your vet will decide if your dog needs antibiotics and if the area needs covering. Some forms of painkiller (called non-steroidals) may be best
avoided. Dogs developing kidney failure (which is called acute kidney injury) will need much more intensive management and your vet may recommend referral to a specialist.” (3)
Where should I walk my dog to avoid CRGV?
“Cases of CRGV have been reported from across many different counties in the UK and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations. Although an environmental cause for this disease is considered
possible it has not been proven with testing to date.” (3)
How will I know if my dog gets CRGV?
Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin (particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of this disease. It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will
NOT be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV, many dogs will not develop
kidney problems and will recover fully. (3)
Can dogs get CRGV all year round?
“Over the last 3 years, more CRGV cases have been seen between November and May than between June and October, suggesting a possible Winter / Spring seasonality.” (3)
93% of Confirmed Cases (4) of CRGV have been in Winter / Spring. CRGV cases are overwhelmingly reported during November to May. Between November 2012 and May 2015, out of 59 confirmed CRGV cases:
Winter – Spring: November to May – 55 cases (93%)
Summer – Autumn: June to October – 4 cases (7%)
(Lancashire – Jun 2014; Somerset – Jul 2014; Burbush Hill, New Forest – Jul 2014; Leeds, Yorkshire – Sep 2014)
Does CRGV affect other animals or humans?
“CRGV has not been seen in animals other than dogs. Owners of dogs affected by CRGV have not been affected by this illness.” (3)
Why is the disease called Alabama Rot?
As the name implies, Alabama Rot was first seen in Alabama, USA in the 1980s. Clinically Alabama Rot is known as idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy – or CRGV, for short.
What is idiopathic CRGV?
- Idiopathic – Of unknown cause
- Cutaneous – Affecting the skin
- Renal – Affecting the kidneys
- Glomerular – A structure in the kidneys which filters blood
- Vasculopathy – A disease which affects blood vessels
Is CRGV the same illness as seasonal canine illness (SCI)?
“No – these are 2 completely separate illnesses causing
different signs. SCI causes vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy with no ulcerative skin lesions” (3)
Has Alabama Rot an Environmental trigger?
“We do not know for certain if there is an environmental trigger for Alabama Rot. Indeed, if there is an environmental trigger we do not know when, in relation to the development of clinical signs, this occurs (e.g. environmental exposure could occur one day, one week, or one month before clinical signs develop). Any information posted about geographical location may therefore not be that relevant given dogs are often walked in different areas.”