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Other Name:Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV). Prior to its identification in the United Kingdom, Alabama rot had previously been reported in greyhounds in the USA.
Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is an often fatal condition in dogs. It was first identified in the USA in the 1980s in greyhounds. The initial symptoms are skin lesions on the legs, chest and abdomen followed by renal involvement.
It is a disease of unknown cause, which leads to skin sores/lesions on the bottom of the legs, pads, body and face. It is often associated with sudden onset kidney failure (acute kidney injury or AKI).
In November 2012 the first cases were identified in the UK. In January 2014, the outbreak in England was identified as having the same or similar histological and clinical findings as Alabama rot, although a wide range of breeds were affected. The disease has continued to spread across England, with a case being reported as far north as North Yorkshire in March 2015. A UK map posted on-line shows confirmed (with post-mortem) and unconfirmed (without post-mortem) cases of Alabama rot since December 2012. In May 2017 it was reported that 98 deaths from the disease have occurred in the UK, including 15 in 2017
About 60% of cases of Alabama rot, which has killed more than 100 dogs in the UK, occur in the first three months of the year, researchers have found.
New research by London’s Royal Veterinary College is under way to try and discover more about the risk factors and spread of the disease.
The cause of the disease, which first occurred in the UK in 2012, is still unknown.
However, researchers have found there are more cases in autumn and winter.
The disease causes lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth. Some dogs can also develop life-threatening kidney failure.
The number of cases in the US is not known, but a Hampshire veterinary practice reported on 24 March 2015 that there had been 103 suspected cases in the UK, including 52 deaths confirmed by postmortem examination
?Most deaths caused by the disease have happened in Hampshire, Dorset and Greater Manchester.
The research is being funded by the New Forest Dog Owners Group and charity Stop Alabama Rot.
Signs and symptoms:
The disease is characterized by cutaneous and renal changes with the latter being ultimately fatal.
Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
*Cutaneous lesions involving erythema, erosion, ulceration occurring mainly on extremities such as distal limbs, muzzle and ventrum
*Lethargy or malaise
*Vomiting or retching
In affected dogs, skin lesions commonly appear less than a week before clinical signs of kidney failure (tiredness, vomiting, not eating). However, not all animals with Alabama rot develop kidney failure.
Some veterinary experts theorize it is a parasite, others theorize it is bacterial. It is more widely believed that Alabama rot is caused by toxins produced by E. coli. Because the exact cause has not been found, developing a vaccine is not possible. The cause of Alabama rot in the UK is under study as of 2013 at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester, Hampshire. A podcast on Alabama rot was published in April 2014 by the Royal Veterinary College. As of February 2015 the Forestry Commission England will only publish specific site location details if “cases are confirmed as CRGV and a scientific connection to the dogs walked on the site is made”.
A comprehensive report on CRGV was published in March 2015 by the British Veterinary Association, concluding that it is a disease of unknown cause “carrying a poor prognosis when azotaemia develops.
A definite diagnosis of Alabama rot can only be made by assessment of a kidney sample under the microscope; however, the index of suspicion for the disease can be high based upon the presence of skin lesions, kidney failure and some other blood test changes.
Treatment is primarily symptomatic involving wound management of skin lesions and aggressive supportive therapy when renal compromise occurs. Some UK dogs with Alabama rot have been successfully treated since 2013. A webinar on Alabama rot by the Royal Veterinary College on 11 February 2015 was tutored by David Walker of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own Veterinary Specialists.