Dog in a field with alabama rot

Alabama Rot - Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV)

Alabama Rot is a very rare disease that causes damage to the blood vessels in the skin and kidneys. It causes tiny blood clots which block the blood vessels and can ultimately damage the affected tissues. Ulcerations develop in the skin whilst in the kidney it can lead to severe organ failure. Over the past few years cases have been seen more commonly between November and May, suggesting a possible Winter and Spring seasonality. Less than 200 cases of Alabama Rot have been confirmed in the UK to date.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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Symptoms of Alabama Rot

Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin are often the first sign of the disease. These may be found on the:

  • Paws
  • Lower legs
  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Tongue
  • Lower body

Signs of kidney failure include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Being sick

It is important to remember that a skin problem is NOT usually caused by Alabama Rot. However, the lesions can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if you are in any doubt it is best to seek veterinary advice. Kidney problems do not affect all dogs that get Alabama Rot. Patients that only have skin lesions usually recover fully.

Cause of Alabama Rot

The cause of Alabama Rot is currently unknown but research is ongoing. Although an environmental cause for this disease is considered possible, it remains unproven. The Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) is a national charity aiming to raise awareness and funds for Alabama Rot (CRGV) research.

What you can do yourself

Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide advice on prevention of the disease as the cause is currently unknown. Experts suggest that you should consider bathing areas of your dog which become wet or muddy on a walk, however, at this stage it is not known if this is of any benefit. Cases have been reported in different counties around the UK and there is no current advice to avoid any particular locations. Here is a map detailing all confirmed cases since 2012.

Treatment of Alabama Rot

If your dog develops a skin lesion your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Dogs that develop kidney failure, which is called acute kidney injury (AKI), will need much more intensive treatment and your vet may recommend referral to a specialist veterinarian.

When to see your physical veterinarian

  • Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin
  • Signs of kidney failure

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