Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) is a rare, but often fatal disease that is affecting dogs in the UK. It is sometimes called ‘Alabama Rot’ by the general public and newspapers because it has similar clinical signs to a disease found in the USA that affected Greyhounds.
The disease has affected and been diagnosed in over 70 dogs in the UK since 2012 and there have been other cases that are suspected but unconfirmed by veterinary surgeons. The main areas of infection seem to be in and around the New Forest, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset, Berkshire & Wiltshire, with one confirmed case in the last month in Wokingham, Berkshire. The disease has also been seen in other parts of the UK.
What are the symptoms of CRGV?
CRGV targets the skin and kidneys and can affect any age, breed and sex of dog.
The initial clinical signs are lesions (sore, inflamed and/or ulcerated patches) on the skin which are usually found on the lower legs and feet, but in some dogs have also been found on the tummy, muzzle and tongue. After 3-5 days (can be up to 10 days) the dog may develop severe depression, loss of appetite, vomiting and kidney failure which can be fatal in 70-80% of cases.
What is the treatment for CRGV?
Because we do know know the exact cause of the disease, the veterinary surgeon will treat the symptoms as they occur in the dog. This may include treatment for any skin lesions including bathing, dressing and medications as necessary, blood tests, urine tests, biopsies and, in cases where renal failure is diagnosed, the treatment may involve intravenous fluids and/or referral to a specialist veterinary practice in some cases.
Can CRGV be prevented?
It is very difficult to give advice regarding prevention because sadly the cause of this disease is currently unknown; however, researchers do know that the majority of dogs that have been diagnosed with the disease had been walked in muddy and/or woodland areas so it is advised that you wash off your dog if he or she is muddy after a walk. I also advise checking your dog’s body daily for sores or lumps (which I know most of you do anyway).
UK dog owners need to be vigilant for signs of this disease, but don’t panic because it is still very rare. It is important to remember that the vast majority of skin problems will just be regular skin problems and will not be caused by CRGV, but if you are in any doubt at all it is always best to seek veterinary advice because the sooner a problem is diagnosed the sooner it can be treated. If CRGV is diagnosed when it is in it’s earlier stages, there is a higher chance of the dog surviving.
How you can help
Be vigilant for signs of disease in your dog
Share information about this disease with other dog owners. If more owners are aware of the clinical signs and symptoms more dogs can be examined and treated quickly by their vet.
Help with research and funding into canine diseases by visiting the Animal Health Trust