Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) is a rare, but often fatal disease that is affecting dogs in the UK. It is sometimes called ‘Alabama Rot’ by the general public and newspapers because it has similar clinical signs to a disease found in the USA that affected Greyhounds.
The disease has affected and been diagnosed in 98 dogs in the UK since 2012 and there have also been 22 unconfirmed and 35 suspected cases in that time (source). The main areas of infection were initially found in The New Forest, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset, but now the disease has also been seen in many other parts of the UK.
What are the symptoms of CRGV?
CRGV targets the skin and kidneys and can affect any age, breed and sex of dog.
The initial clinical signs are lesions (sore, inflamed and/or ulcerated patches) on the skin which are usually on the lower legs and feet, but in some dogs have also been found on the tummy, muzzle and tongue. The lesions are usually 0.5cm – 5 cm in diameter. Within 1 – 9 days the dog may develop severe depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and kidney failure which can be fatal in about 80% of cases.
What is the treatment for CRGV?
Because the cause of the disease is currently unknown, the veterinary surgeon will treat the symptoms as they occur in the dog. This may include treatment for any skin lesions including bathing, dressing and medications as necessary, blood tests, urine tests, biopsies and, in cases where renal failure is diagnosed, the treatment may involve intravenous fluids and/or referral to a specialist veterinary practice in some cases.
Can CRGV be prevented?
It is very difficult to give advice regarding prevention because sadly the cause of this disease is currently unknown; however, we do know that the majority of dogs that have been diagnosed with the disease had been walked in muddy and/or woodland areas so it is advised that you wash off your dog if he or she is muddy after a walk. We also advise checking your dog’s body daily for lesions, sores or lumps (which we know most of you do anyway).
Researchers do not currently believe that this disease is passed from dog to dog and there is absolutely no evidence of it affecting humans or other animal species.
We are urging dog owners not to panic about the disease as it is very rare, but we would like you to be vigilant in checking your dogs for signs of this disease. It is important to remember that the vast majority of skin problems will just be regular skin problems and will not be caused by CRGV, but if you are in any doubt at all it is always best to seek veterinary advice because the sooner a problem is diagnosed the sooner it can be treated. If CRGV is diagnosed when it is in it’s earlier stages, there is a higher chance of the dog surviving.
CRGV is under investigation by the Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and a number of other organisations and more information can be found on their website.
You can also visit Alabamarot.co.uk
How you can help
Don’t panic about this disease – it is very rare and there is no reason to stop walking your dogs in their favourite places.
Pass on the information about being vigilant and checking dogs for lesions to other pet owners.
If you are concerned about your dog’s health, please contact Castle Vets for an appointment on 0118 9574488