Alabama Rot or Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) is back in the news. The Kennel Club is urging dog owners to be vigilant as the peak season for the Alabama rot comes upon us. The condition was first detected in the UK in 2012 and is most prevalent between November and May.
Research is ongoing and as yet is inconclusive as to the cause of the condition but once contracted by dogs the disease damages the lining of blood vessels in the skin and kidney, resulting in ulceration of the skin and kidney damage. Regrettably some affected dogs will go on to develop severe, acute kidney failure, which can be fatal.
Unfortunately, the condition can affect any dog regardless of breed or age. And sadly, dogs have contracted Alabama rot in many places across the UK, with cases reported in Berkshire, Cornwall, County Durham, the New Forest, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Surrey, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Northern Ireland.
As yet, no evidence has been found to suggest that CRGV is caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, or radiation. There is speculation that it is related to mud or water, due to the higher prevalence in winter and spring, and relatively low case numbers seen in the summer.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club secretary said: “Although the disease is very rare, affecting an extremely low percentage of dogs in the UK, the condition is very serious and potentially life-threatening. It is therefore vital that owners understand and recognise the warning signs, especially as time plays a significant part in successfully treating the disease. We are asking owners to look out for any signs of Alabama rot during the winter months and to remember to take action right away. Any dogs with unexplained or concerning skin lesions which typically look like sores, ulcers, or red, swollen, bruised areas, commonly with an infected appearance should be taken to their vet as soon as possible. These skin changes are usually found on their paws or lower legs, but may also appear on their head, face or lower body. Dogs who have contracted the disease may also become tired, disinterested in food, or present other signs of illness like vomiting or diarrhoea.”
Thankfully, the disease is not always fatal and the earlier it is caught, the greater your dog’s chances of survival.
The best advice is to remain vigilant of your pets’ wellbeing, monitor appropriate knowledge sites such as the Blue Cross and the Kennel Club and if you are in any doubt, please contact your vet immediately.