Alabama Rot or cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is a serious disease, which only affects dogs and has relatively recently been recognised in the UK. There have been around 100 confirmed cases since first seen in 2012. Any age, sex, or breed of dog can be affected. The disease manifests as lesions on the skin and occasionally in the mouth, which can look like bites, sores, wounds or stings. Some dogs go on to develop life-threatening kidney failure. The disease causes damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney, causing tiny blood clots to form which can result in a blockage to these small vessels and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration, however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure).
What causes CRGV?
The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are on going. We know that 90% of confirmed cases have been in the six months between December and May and appear to have been associated with muddy or wooded areas.
What should I do if my dog has these symptoms?
If you see a dog licking any skin lesions not caused by any known injury, take the dog to a vet without delay. The vet will confirm whether or not it is Alabama Rot and remember this disease is quite rare so most cases will have other causes. Once more advanced, in kidney failure, cases are often fatal.
As we do not yet know the cause we have no idea how to prevent or even whether a vaccine will one day be developed.