CRGV (Alabama Rot)
Recent cases discovered in the UK
(last updated 9th April 2018)
Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) commonly called Alabama Rot was first identified in Alabama in the USA in the 1980's, hence the name of Alabama Rot.
It is a slightly different strain that is in the UK.
At the time of writing this article there is very little known about this disease other than it can be life threatening for dogs.
Here are the known elements which could help your humans be more aware of the dangers and possibly what signs to look for.
Scientists have named it so they must know what it is and can they cure it?
The name reflects the known elements of the disease.
Cutaneous - affecting the skin
Renal - relating to the kidneys
Glomerular - a structure in the kidneys which filters blood
Vasculopathy - a disease which affects blood vessels
The biggest problem is that affected dogs are only arriving for vet care once the disease has taken hold.
This does not mean humans are being negligent, it means sometimes when the signs are evident the disease has already spread.
What is it?
It is a disease that causes lesions (open sores) on our skin.
That is bad and needs treatment, however the scientists have realised we lick wounds and in the process of doing that we are actually consuming part of the infection which is probably how it is affecting our kidneys and spreading the disease through our bloodstream and causing blood clots.
Why is there such a delay from a dog getting CRGV to it being announced for everyone?
Unfortunately CRGV cannot be confirmed without tests or necropsies (animal autopsy).
They are both very expensive and take time to get the results back.
Not all humans with dogs that have been affected or sadly died from suspected CRGV can either face or afford these tests.
Vets do not tend to rush out news of suspected outbreaks of illness as it could cause unnecessary distress, panic and there are loads of factors they have to take into their diagnosis of any illness.
Where can I take my human for walks, is anywhere safe?
As there is still a huge unknown element around this disease it is not 100% known where or when any dog could come into contact with it.
As we are all walked several times a day and possibly over several different locations.
Add to that the unknown timescale from being in contact to actually showing any signs of infection.
Is the incubation an hour, a day, a week or a month?
Until scientists can make a breakthrough we just have to make sure our humans are vigilant with us.
Not every dog is affected either, which is another reason that finding the cause is so difficult.
What signs should we tell our humans to look for?
Skin sores, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever.
There is no definite 'it looks like this' signs to look for as it not only shows slightly differently in each case but for every dog breed and fur length will all affect our humans ability to notice it.
For example I have very short fur so my human can see any differences on my skin very easily. However a very shaggy dog may have signs hidden deep in their fur.
Other signs to look for are soreness, swelling, open sores or other unexplained redness.
Places to look are the paws, anywhere on the skin, face, mouth or even our tongues.
Vomiting, tiredness and loss of appetite.
If your human finds any of these signs then contacting your vet would be recommended.
Affected areas in the UK
The main number of cases have been within the New Forest area but cases have been in Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire and County Durham. and more.
So although dogs living outside these areas have not had reported cases it does not mean it is not possible there.
Unfortunately there has recently been more suspected outbreaks around the UK.
So visiting the official CRGV website for the latest news (link below)
I am looking for an unknown disease with unknown causes and possibly not clear symptoms, should I just panic now?
No not at all, we just need our humans to be vigilant.
There is a recommendation for us to have any mud washed off us after walks and to avoid drinking from puddles and puddle wallowing.
Although not defining rules but here is the know information scientists do know about the disease.
Between November 2012 and May 2015 there were only 59 confirmed cases.
In the UK 93% (55) of confirmed cases were reported between November and May. Only 7% (4) of cases were reported June to October.
The disease has only been seen in dogs. No other species (including humans) have been affected.
It is believed all dogs affected were walked in woodland areas... this is not confirmed and still just a theory.
There is currently no vaccine as the actual cause has not been established.
Once they know the cause hopefully it would be possible for them to try to manufacture a vaccine.
Sadly there is a high number of fatalities from this disease but some dogs have survived.
Also don't forget to put things into perspective, of the thousands and thousands of dogs that live in the UK there has been only 97 confirmed cases of Alabama Rot between 2012 and 2015.
Unconfirmed guessing surrounding the disease.
If it is unconfirmed guessing why are you writing about it?
Even though there is still a huge unknown factor to CRGV, it is better to have the known elements rather than have no information at all.
As there is still a huge unknown element to the disease, there are still areas scientists have labelled as 'not confirmed' and are current theories.
E coli - no evidence from current tests
Parasite - no evidence from current tests
Only greyhounds affected - it was originally thought only greyhounds were affected but with other breeds being affected was it just greyhounds were more severely affected?
Drinking water or eating things - tests were carried out in possible affected areas but nothing was found so no conclusive answers
The exact method of transmission is unknown
Washing mud etc off dogs after woodland and muddy walks does not totally prevent against the disease.
Future updates and breakthroughs
As with all of my articles I do try to update and keep everyone informed.
Any scientists or vets involved with the research and study of Alabama Rot that reads this, if you would like to contact me, that would be pawsome
Stay safe out there furpals
Although there have been a few more suspected cases, and sadly some deaths due to CRGV, are we about to see a cure in the near future?
A vet , Fiona Macdonald who specialises in developing and supplying fish medicine, thinks she may have found a possible cause.
Along with a friend who is a microbiologist, they are looking at a bacteria Aeromonas Hydrophilia which infects the skin. Then the resulting infection travels to the kidneys.
This is very much still in theory and a lot more data from dogs affected by CRGV is required.
Dr Macdonald is requesting help from dogs that have or may be suspected of having CRGV to join her trial by contacting her on:
Paws Crossed this is a step towards a cure.