CRGV, popularly known as ‘Alabama rot’ is a disease that has been known about since the late 1980s in the USA. Since December 2012 a number of suspected and confirmed cases have been seen in counties throughout the UK.
Dogs reported with the disease can suffer kidney failure and/or skin lesions. The cause of the disease remains unknown.
Although reports come from people who have walked their dog in the countryside, the cause of the disease remains unknown.
Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day and it is important to remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.
Most skin lesions will not be caused by this disease and most cases of kidney failure will have another cause.
Because the cause remains unknown we do not want to give the impression that some areas are safer than others indeed there may not be an environmental trigger.
We are not informing visitors about specific sites unless cases are confirmed as CRGV and a scientific connection to the dog’s walked on the site is made.
What should I look out for?
The skin lesions are a symptom of the disease rather than being traumatic wounds from an injury.
Typically the skin lesions have been below the knee or elbow although they are occasionally seen on the face or bottom of the chest or abdomen.
They may present as a focal swelling, a patch of red skin or a defect in the skin (like an ulcer).
Over the subsequent two to ten days the affected dogs have developed clinical signs of kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness.
What should I do?
If you are concerned about your dog please speak to your local vet. If your dog is affected, early recognition of the disease and aggressive management is likely to lead to the best outcome.
It is important to stress that the case numbers are very low. Without knowing the trigger for the disease it is impossible to give specific advice about walking your dog.
Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists have produced a helpful fact sheet for dog owners.
If you are a vet, please direct your enquiries to Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists on 01962 767920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Animal Health Trust has launched an online survey to help with the investigation. You can help by completing the survey whether or not your dog has been ill: www.aht.org.uk/alabamarot.
Where have cases been to date?
Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists have been collating information on the cases and leading investigations; latest information can be found here http://www.andersonmoores.com/vet/news/.