Alabama Rot (CRGV) – UPDATE confirmed case in Cornwall – March ’18
What is CRGV?
Alabama rot is a disease caused by damage to blood vessels of the skin and kidney. It causes tiny blood clots to form in the blood vessels which blocks them and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to severe organ dysfunction (kidney failure).
What causes CRGV?
The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are ongoing.
How do I stop my dog from getting CRGV?
Unfortunately, as the cause is currently unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention. Even though it is still not known if it will be of benefit we advise you to consider bathing any area of your dog which becomes wet or muddy on a walk. The cases that have occurred tend to be linked to getting wet and muddy on a walk but there is still no evidence to say that this is the cause.
Most cases of CRGV occur between November and May, and there are reports of owners saying their dogs had been in, or near, muddy water. New cases are being confirmed in previously unaffected areas, and there are often multiple others cases diagnosed in the same area a short time after, forming clusters of confirmed cases.
Vets will sometimes advise that dogs should be kept away from these areas, and environments during ‘at risk’ months.
Where should I walk my dog to avoid CRGV?
Cases of CRGV have been reported from across many different counties in the UK and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations. Although an environmental cause for this disease is considered possible it has not been proven with testing to date. If you hear a dog has been infected after exercising in a certain area you may feel like you want to avoid going there.
How will I know if my dog gets CRGV?
Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin (particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of this disease. It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will NOT be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV, many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.
From cases that have been confirmed, there are several key indicators of Alabama Rot:
- Skin lesions, ulcers, sores or bite marks
- Lethargy or a loss of energy
- Loss of appetite and a reluctance to eat
- Jaundice such as a discolouration in your dog’s eyes, gums or nostrils
- Vomiting or gagging have been observed in some cases at later stages of Alabama Rot
- Kidney failure occurs in a minority of cases, however if it does occur, it usually proves fatal
It is important to understand that not all dogs display all of the symptoms, so if you notice any of the above in your dog, take it to a vet immediately.
How is CRGV treated?
If your dog develops a skin lesion your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Your vet will decide if your dog needs antibiotics and if the area needs covering. Dogs developing kidney failure (which is called acute kidney injury) will need much more intensive care management. Be care with trying medication with out speaking to your vet as, in some cases certain mecicines need to be avoided in case of a negative effext an already damaged kidneys.
The veterinary scientific community continues to research CRGV. There is a group called the Alabama Rot Research Fund raising funding for research – their website also gives you further details of this nasty disease and how little we know about it still – contact them on http://www.arrf.co.uk/
Is CRGV the same illness as seasonal canine illness (SCI)?
No – these are 2 completely separate illnesses causing different signs. SCI causes vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy with no ulcerative skin lesions. Can dogs get CRGV all year round? Over the last 3 years, more CRGV cases have been seen between November and May than between June and October, suggesting a possible Winter / Spring seasonality.
Does CRGV affect other animals or humans?
CRGV has not been seen in animals other than dogs. Owners of dogs affected by CRGV have not been affected by this illness.
Any worries contact any of the Kernow Veterinary Group surgeries for an appointment based only here in Cornwall with clinics at Lostwithiel, St Austell, Wadebridge and Bodmin. And remember we work 24 hours a day 7 days a week so that we can always be there for you and your pets – check out the details about our emergency service on our link https://kernowvetgroup.com/out-of-hours-emergencies/