Location patterns and risk factors for Alabama Rot in UK dogs

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.

Abstract

“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

 

Conclusion

“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.”

References

(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

MP writes to DEFRA minister about Alabama Rot

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.

Google Trends – Alabama Rot

Awareness about Alabama Rot has peaked since David Walker of Anderson Moores went on Breakfast TV on 10th May to discuss the disease. The last maximum peak was in January 2014 when signs about Alabama Rot were placed in New Forest car parks.

Google Trend – Alabama Rot – Last 5 years


Interest over time

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.

Anderson Moores thank AlabamaRot.co.uk – Reading May 10th Conference

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

Dear Chris

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.

Chris Street BSc MSc

AlabamaRot.co.uk

Bransgore, Dorset

Environmental factor triggers Alabama Rot in dogs with an intrinsic disposition

The Reading Conference on Alabama Rot tomorrow (Wednesday 10th May 2017) is being organised by David Walker from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (AMVS).

In a 13-minute report on Sunday 7th, May 2017, David Walker spoke to Rachael Garside of BBC Radio Wales ‘Country Focus’ programme (from 6m 45s). He said:

  • 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.