Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is a condition, often fatal, in dogs, first identified in the USA in the 1980s. The initial symptoms are skin lesions on the legs, chest and abdomen,. It was first noted in greyhounds in the US.
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 cause 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 online shows confirmed (with post mortem) and unconfirmed (without post mortem) cases of Alabama rot since December 2012.
Signs and symptoms
In all cases skin lesions form on the body. Within one to nine days of the skin lesions appearing, renal shutdown often follows, ultimately leading to death.
Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Skin lesions, ulcers, sores or bite marks
- Lethargy or a loss of energy
- Loss of appetite and a reluctance to eat
- Jaundice such as a discolouration in your dog's eyes, gums or nostrils
- Vomiting or gagging have been observed in some cases at later stages of Alabama Rot
- Kidney failure occurs in a minority of cases, however if it does occur, it usually proves fatal
While no exact cause is known, water/food related cause, or bad water or food that would make the dog sick, have been ruled out. 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".
While no vaccination has been found, some dogs can fight off the disease, and live with minimal damage. Usually dogs eventually die, but treatment for this is limited. The most a veterinarian could do is treat the kidney failure. Since kidney failure treatment is not permanent, the dog almost always dies soon after. 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.
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.
Alabama rot has been known in the US since the 1980s, particularly associated with greyhounds, but since found to affect other breeds. At first this disease was limited to the US, but over 80 confirmed cases have been found in the UK as of December 2016. Alabama Rot has spread throughout the UK, with confirmed cases in new locations every year since it was first discovered.
- "Signs warn dog owners of killer disease". BBC Online. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "What is Alabama rot?". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- Walker, D (23 March 2015). Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury ('Alabama Rot'). Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "UK Map of Alabama Rot". 6 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "What is Alabama rot?". Telegraph. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury ('Alabama Rot')". Anderson Moores. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Jasani, S. (14 April 2014). Alabama Rot-like Syndrome in UK dogs (and podcast). Royal Veterinary College. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama Rot’)". Forestry Commission England. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Holm, L. P.; et al. (March 2015). "Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy as a cause of acute kidney injury in dogs in the UK" (PDF). Veterinary Record. British Veterinary Association. 176 (15): 384. doi:10.1136/vr.102892. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- "Webinar: Understanding ‘Alabama Rot’". Royal Veterinary College. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Vets' warning as killer disease strikes 52 dogs: First recorded outbreak of Alabama rot hits pets across Britain". Daliy Mail. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Alabama rot - What you need to know". BBC Countryfile. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015.