Dog in a field with alabama rot

Alabama Rot in dogs - 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 in dogs

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

  • Drinking and/or urinating excessively

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 prompt veterinary advice. Kidney failure does not affect all dogs that get Alabama Rot. Dogs that only have skin lesions usually recover fully.

Cause of Alabama Rot in dogs

The cause of Alabama Rot is currently unknown. Research is ongoing to try to identify why this disease occurs. Although an environmental cause for this disease is possible, however, it remains unproven.

What you can do yourself?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide specific advice on prevention of the disease since 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 has any benefit. Cases of Alabama Rot have been reported in different counties around the UK. There is no current advice to avoid any particular locations. A map detailing all confirmed cases since 2012 is available here.

Treatment of Alabama Rot in dogs

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 hospitalisation for more intensive treatment. Your vet may recommend referral to a specialist vet.

When to see your physical vet?

  • Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin

  • Signs of kidney failure

The Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) is a national charity aiming to raise awareness and funds for Alabama Rot (CRGV) research.

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