An update on Alabama Rot
Due to a case of Alabama Rot being confirmed this January in the Taunton area, and understandable concern and questions from our clients, we thought an up-date on the disease would be helpful.
Alabama Rot or Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (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 that 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 kidney failure.
Although CRGV can be very serious, the number of dogs affected remains low with 160 confirmed cases since 2012 – 37 cases so far in 2018. Over the last 6 years, more CRGV cases have been seen between November and May than between June and October, suggesting a possible Winter / Spring seasonality.
Unfortunately, despite current research efforts, the cause of CRGV remains unknown. Because the cause of CRGV 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. 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 to date. A map detailing all confirmed cases since 2012, is available at www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/
Many clients ask us how will they know if their 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 contact us for advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV, many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.
If your dog develops a skin lesion we will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Our vets 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 will need much more intensive treatment.
Please rest assured that the number of dogs affected by CRGV is very low. It has also not been seen in animals other than dogs and owners of dogs affected by CRGV have not been affected by this illness.
*This information has been provided by Anderson Moores veterinary specialists, who are leading the research into CRGV.
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