In short, a lot less than we would like, Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) or, Alabama Rot, as it is more commonly known, continues to frustrate vets worldwide.
It was covered in the UK national news in recent weeks following a spate of confirmed cases seen across the country since the start of the year. The disease was first diagnosed in America in the late 1980’s, hence the nickname.
Since December 2012, when the disease first appeared in the UK, 135 dogs have died with confirmed cases having been reported in the majority of counties. The disease yields fatal results in 9 out of 10 cases so the message really is to act fast if you suspect your dog is showing symptoms.
We would like to stress that, as a practice, we have never seen any cases of Alabama Rot.
The first ever UK conference about the disease was held in Reading last May with experts from the veterinary profession discussing their findings and how best to lead the ongoing research into Alabama Rot.
It doesn’t appear to be specific to a particular age or breed of dog and although there does seem to be an environmental trigger, this is yet to be identified. It progresses quickly, with kidney failure occurring about 3 days after initial symptoms and can be fatal within just 7 days.
Most victims of the disease have been walked in muddy, wooded areas after recent heavy rainfall. The owner has then found skin lesions appearing on the limbs, face or stomach of the dog (similar to the one photographed above).
They may also be depressed, off their food and possibly vomiting. The disease causes blood clots to form in the blood vessels, thus blocking them and leading to tissue damage in the affected area. In the kidney this causes severe organ dysfunction and kidney failure occurs very quickly after the disease takes hold.
Although it is still an incredibly rare disease it is one that all dog owners do need to be aware of. As vets, it is difficult to give any preventative advice as so little is still known about the cause of the disease. However, if you have walked your dog in a muddy, wooded area it would be sensible to wash their paws and legs thoroughly afterwards.
If you notice any skin sore on your dog which has developed for no reason this should be checked by one of our vets.
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