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Alabama Rot – Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV)

Dog in the Woods

Alabama Rot, also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) , explained by Rosevean Veterinary Practice, Cornwall. In Alabama Rot, blood vessels in the skin and kidneys are damaged by tiny clots which can lead to damage to the organs. In the skin it causes ulceration but in the kidneys it could cause organ failure.

What we know:

  • Alabama Rot (CRGV) is considered rare. 122 confirmed cases with skin and kidney failure have been recorded between Nov 2012 and March 2018. With an estimated UK dog population of 9 million that is 1 case per 409,000 dogs per year.
  • The vast majority of skin lesions are not CRGV.
  • Cases seem to occur most between November and May but the reason why is unknown.
  • No specific breed, age, sex or weight is predisposed.
  • We do not know the cause of the condition at present.
  • Without knowing the cause it is hard to advise ways to protect against disease. Bathing areas after a walk that are wet or muddy has been advocated but we do not know if this is necessary or of benefit.
  • Cases have been confirmed all over the UK and at present, due to lack of information, we are not advising owners to avoid certain locations. A map showing confirmed cases is available at http://www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/

Image from the Vets4Pets Website

Signs to watch for:

CRGV is possible with unexplained redness and sores on skin. It is more common to see lesions on the legs and paws but lesions have been reported on the face, body and tongue. Remember MOST SKIN LESIONS ARE NOT CRGV. Even if the skin signs are caused by Alabama Rot many will resolve fully without kidney issues. Increased drinking or vomiting within a week of skin lesions developing could be another clinical sign.

Diagnosis:

The only way to diagnose the condition is by sending skin and kidney samples for analysis and unfortunately kidney samples would be taken at post mortem meaning confirmation of disease is tricky.

Treatment:

  • Wounds will be treated in the same manner as any other skin problem with pain relief and antibiotics as needed.
  • Any animal showing signs of increased drinking and/or vomiting with skin lesions should see a vet as soon as possible and bloods may be required to check kidney function.
  • Treatment for kidney disease is symptomatic with fluids and other medication as needed. Some dogs will recover fully but some with severe kidney changes may not despite treatment.

Take home message:

Alabama Rot is a rare condition and most skin sores will not be this disease. Don’t panic! If you are worried about a skin sore get a vet to check it. Any animal with skin changes of unknown origin that is drinking more or vomiting should see a vet as soon as possible. For more information please call us at Rosevean Veterinary Practice on 01736 362215.

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