Alabama Rot – an update

Alabama Rot or as it’s actually known – Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) continues to strike fear in pet owners up and down the country. This year there were 29 confirmed cases bringing to a total of 112 confirmed cases since it was first diagnosed in the UK since 2012. It has a worryingly high mortality rate of about 80%.

The condition was first recognised in Alabama in the US (hence the name) and seemed to affect mostly greyhounds. It is thought that a toxin produced by certain strains of bacteria caused ulcerative skin lesions but that then progressed to cause irreversible kidney damage. Efforts to determine the exact bacteria or toxin that causes the condition in the UK have so far been unrewarding so as a result there is no vaccine available and treatment is aimed at resolving the skin lesions and monitoring and supporting kidney function. Diagnosis is difficult also and often only possible on post mortem.
Nearly all cases are diagnosed in the colder/damper months of November through to May. Often it is thought to be associated with wintery walks in woods or the countryside but the exact triggers are still to be established. General advice is to wash off muddy paws at the end of a walk to reduce potential bacterial exposure.
If your dog does develop unexplainable skin ulcers or sores then you should take it to your vet but be reassured that still to date there have been no confirmed cases in Gloucestershire and it is still an extremely rare condition.