Alabama rot

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Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)[1] is an often fatal condition in dogs. It was first identified in the USA in the 1980s in greyhounds.[2][3] The initial symptoms are skin lesions on the legs, chest and abdomen followed by renal involvement.[2][3]

In November 2012 the first cases were identified in the UK.[4] In January 2014, the outbreak in England was identified as having the same or similar histological and clinical findings as Alabama rot,[1][2] although a wide range of breeds were affected.[1] 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 on-line shows confirmed (with post-mortem) and unconfirmed (without post-mortem) cases of Alabama rot since December 2012.[5]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The disease is characterized by cutaneous and renal changes with the latter being ultimately fatal.[6][3] As kidney disease progresses animals affected become systemically unwell.

Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:[7]

  • Cutaneous lesions involving erythema, erosion, ulceration occurring mainly on extremities such as distal limbs, muzzle and ventrum
  • Pyrexia
  • Lethargy or malaise
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting or retching


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.[8] A podcast on Alabama rot was published in April 2014 by the Royal Veterinary College.[9] 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".[10]

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".[11]


Treatment is primarily symptomatic involving wound management of skin lesions and aggressive supportive therapy when renal compromise occurs. Some UK dogs with Alabama rot have been successfully treated since 2013.[8] A webinar on Alabama rot by the Royal Veterinary College on 11 February 2015 was tutored by David Walker of Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.[12]


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.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Signs warn dog owners of killer disease". BBC Online. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "What is Alabama rot?". The Daily Telegraph. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Carpent, J. L.; et al. (1988). "Idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy of Greyhounds". Veterinary Pathology. 25: 401–407. 
  4. ^ Walker, D (23 March 2015). Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury ('Alabama Rot'). Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "UK Map of Alabama Rot". 6 February 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Holm, L. P.; Hawkins, I.; Robin, C.; Newton, R. J.; Jepson, R.; Stanzani, G.; McMahon, L. A.; Pesavento, P.; Carr, T. (2015-04-11). "Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy as a cause of acute kidney injury in dogs in the UK". Veterinary Record. 176 (15): 384–384. ISSN 0042-4900. PMC 4413843Freely accessible. PMID 25802439. doi:10.1136/vr.102892. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Important information regarding dogs with acute kidney injury ('Alabama Rot')". Anderson Moores. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Jasani, S. (14 April 2014). Alabama Rot-like Syndrome in UK dogs (and podcast). Royal Veterinary College. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama Rot’)". Forestry Commission England. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Webinar: Understanding ‘Alabama Rot’". Royal Veterinary College. 11 February 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "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.