Skip to main content

Alabama Rot

Alabama Rot
Click to enlarge

A lot of you will already have heard or read about Alabama Rot, but as so little is known about it we wanted to give you the facts that are available to date.

So what is it?

At the moment very little is known about it and the medical name Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) really describes the signs that it causes.

Initially, it was seen in the late 1980’s in the USA, firstly recognised in Alabama as the name implies, and affected greyhounds. Since 2012 there have been 143 confirmed cases, with 20 cases in 2018.

It affects dogs of all breeds and ages. It does not appear to infect people or other animals. 

There is a seasonal link with around 90% of cases reported between November and April and especially with dogs walked in muddy woodland areas or terrain with cold running or standing water.

What are the signs?

It affects the blood vessels of the skin and kidneys, leading to sores developing on the skin of their lower limbs, belly, face, mouth and tongue. These can appear as open ulcers, a swelling or a red area. In around 25% of affected dogs, kidney failure can occur within three to ten days. The signs of kidney failure include vomiting, reduced hunger and unusual tiredness.

What should you do if you are worried your dog may have it?

Firstly there are many diseases that can cause similar signs so it is not unique to Alabama Rot. We would advise you to come in and see the vet so that they can have a thorough examination to make a diagnosis, which may involve some blood tests.

What if it is Alabama Rot?

Early and intensive treatments give the best results and some cases treated early have survived, but sadly this is not always the case. The current survival rate for the confirmed cases is 15%.

Can it be prevented?

Because the cause is unknown clear advice on prevention is difficult. The current thought is that it can be picked up on the paws on muddy walks so washing after a walk is a sensible precaution and if you see anything that concerns you contact us.

Please remember that whilst this all sounds very concerning it has only affected a very small number of the dog population, so the risks are low. If you have any concerns please call.