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Alabama Rot

Much of the information below has been taken from Anderson Moores website. There is further information available there and information sheets to download.

25th April 2016

The suspected case mentioned below (10th April) had samples taken which have been tested by Anderdon Moores Veterinary Specialist and has been confirmed as a case of Alabama Rot. This is the only case we know about in the immediate area. Anderson Moores keep a complete list of cases on their website.

We recommend avoiding walking your dog in the Squires Lane area of Tyldesley and to remain vigilant - keeping your dogs from roaming free in woodland or undergrowth. There is a common sense approach needed. There is no epidemic, just one confirmed recent case, and one loss is too many. Until more research helps the Veterinary profession understand the cause and develop better treatments we can only offer the advice given.

10th April 2016

We have seen a suspected and very likely case of Alabama Rot at our Leigh Surgery. This dog was from Tyldesley and 2 days before first presenting was walked on the disused railway in the Squires Lane area. He presented with a painful, swollen area on a foreleg - very lame but no broken skin. This developed into a very painful skin lesion which enlarged progressively - ulcerated, infected and very sore. A few days later he develop kidney failure. He was treated aggressively for this but became so poorly over 48 to 72 hours he had to be put to sleep.

We recommend you avoid walking your dogs in this area, particularly from March to June each year. Contact the surgery if you have any questions. Should your dog show signs of unexplained lameness or lesions on the limbs we recommend you seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

21st December 2015

There has been some information in the local (Bolton) press about Alabama Rot cases but none have yet been confirmed scientifically. The condition still remains very rare and no-one yet knows what causes it. Avoid damp woodland (as a precaution) and contact your Vet if any symptoms showing.

see: Wigan Council website for more information

1st March 2015 update

There is also a dedicated Alabama Rot website with lots of information and a UK incidence map

29th January 2015 update


There have been six further confirmed cases of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) over the past few weeks (Hampshire, Greater London, Dorset, Berkshire, Kent and East Sussex). An additional case treated at Anderson Moores was considered highly likely to have had CRGV and fortunately survived, meaning that a definitive diagnosis was not made (since this requires post mortem testing).
The Forestry Commission are no longer hosting a table with the exact geographical location of cases. At this stage we do not know for certain if there is an environmental trigger for CRGV. Indeed, if there is an environmental trigger we do not know when, in relation to the development of clinical signs, this occurs (e.g.  environmental exposure could occur one day, one week, or one month before clinical signs develop). Any information posted about geographical location may therefore not be that relevant given dogs are often walked in different areas. Updates and further information will continue to be posted on this webpage with the broad geographical location of cases.

 5th January 2015 update

There have been two further confirmed case of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) over the past few weeks (Runcorn and Manchester). We are not currently waiting on any further pathology results from affected dogs and have not been contacted about other possible cases.

December 2014 update


There has been one confirmed case of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) since our last update (Hampshire – Deerleap). Although an environmental trigger has been proposed as the possible cause of CRGV this has not been proven. We continue to advise owners to remain vigilant and contact their local Veterinary surgeon if they are concerned.

Update 21st October 2014

We are entering the time of year when cases of cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV or ‘Alabama rot’) have presented. Affected dogs typically present with a lesion(s) on the distal limb although lesions have also been seen on the face and ventrum. The skin lesions may initially appear as superficial erosions and may progress to full thickness ulceration. Initially you may just notice your dog licking at their foot or leg and it may not be clear what the problem is underneath the fur. Lesion size has ranged from 0.5 to 5cm in diameter. There is no apparent breed, age or sex predilection. Forty five dogs have been histopathologically confirmed to have been suffering from CRGV in the UK over the past two years. Cases have been identified across the whole of the UK and some dogs have survived.

At initial presentation with a skin lesion(s) dogs are typically otherwise asymptomatic (feeling well), but over the subsequent one to nine days they develop clinical signs referable to acute kidney injury (AKI). This may include being very thirsty, depressed, off their food or vomiting. Some patients will present with skin lesions and AKI concurrently and rarely dogs present with AKI prior to the development of skin lesions.

We may decide to take blood and urine to test and monitor for the development of this disease. Blood results will reveal azotaemia and possibly thrombocytopaenia, mild anaemia and hyperbilirubinaemia. Urinalysis will reveal dilute urine and possibly glucosuria and casts.

If you are a dog owner and are concerned about your pet, please speak to your local vet in the first instance.  

Update 24.10.14

The last confirmed case of Alabama Rot was in early June 2014 

Update 11.6.14

The total number of confirmed cases across the UK is thirty nine. Three of these dogs were from the North West, one was from Kent and one was from the New Forest. The geographical location of all affected cases can be seen on the Forestry Commission website (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/alabamarot). 

There have been no new cases in our area since well before our last update in May. As we have said previously, we think the condition is seasonal. We still don't know the cause. It is probably safe to walk in previous suspect areas but, as always, be vigilant. 

Update 13.5.14

There have only been 5 confirmed cases in Greater Manchester and one in Cheshire. The confirmed cases reported are all dogs that died several weeks ago and to the best of our knowledge there are no outstanding unconfirmed cases in our area. You can get updates on the Forestry commission website.

Update 11.5.14

We have not seen any cases of suspected Alabama Rot during the last month. In the last 2 years there have only 34 cases confirmed in the UK and only one of these has been in Lancashire and two in Greater Manchester so the risks to your dog remain very small despite all the media hype that has been generated. You can keep up to date with the latest news on Alabama Rot here and on the Forestry Commission website.

Here is a factsheet for owners about Alabama Rot which supplements some of the information we give below.

There is some more information on the Royal Veterinary College's website which also contains a link to a questionnaire which dog owners can complete to help us understand the condition more. Although we know what pathology is caused in the skin and kidneys of affected dogs we still don't know what the cause is and how exactly dogs develop the condition. 

Update 9.4.14

At this current moment of time there has been NO confirmed cases in the area surrounding any of the Vetcare Surgeries.However there are a small number of unconfirmed cases undergoing investigation:

One in Lancashire, two in Greater Manchester (Mossely near Oldham, Atherton and Leigh.
We are uncertain about seasonality at present. Previously cases elsewhere were identified from Nov 2012  to March 2013 and then from Dec 13 onward. This suggests we may be coming towards the end of any risk period.

 
While it is very worrying for dog owners remember that only a very small number of dogs have been affected.It is probably good practice to wash your pets legs and feet after walking on woodland areas. 

Alabama Rot

'Alabama Rot' or 'New Forest Disease' has had a lot of media coverage in recent months but it is not a new disease. We know about a small number of dogs who have possibly died from the condition locally and they shared in common that they have been walked recently in local woodland. We have known about the disease since the 1980s where it affected predominantly greyhounds in the USA and elsewhere. It is a condition which affects the skin and in some cases also the kidneys. Dogs unfortunate enough to contract the disease have a high risk of death (80%) despite aggressive treatment. 

What is idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (‘Alabama rot’)?

Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy, otherwise known as ‘CRGV’ or ‘Alabama rot’  was initially thought to only affect Greyhounds and the dogs reported in the USA presented with skin problems, with or without kidney failure. Examination of samples of the dogs’ kidneys under the microscope revealed unusual and unique changes. These changes were similar to those seen in people with a disease called ‘haemolytic uraemic syndrome’. In a proportion of people with haemolytic uraemic syndrome, the disease is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria called E.coli. This toxin has not been identified in dogs, so at this stage the cause of CRGV remains unknown, although research is ongoing.

Have Alabama Rot cases been seen in the United Kingdom and does this disease only affect Greyhounds?

Since December 2012, cases of various breed, age and sex have been diagnosed with CRGV. These cases have been identified in Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire and County Durham. The affected dogs have initially had a skin abnormality (also referred to as a ‘lesion’) of unknown cause. We now think the disease has spread to other areas and may have affected some dogs local to our surgery in Leigh. 

What do the skin lesions look like and where have they been found?

Typically the skin abnormalities  have been below the knee or elbow. The skin lesions may appear as a swelling, a patch of red skin or a defect in the skin (like an ulcer). Over the subsequent two to seven days the dogs have developed clinical signs of kidney failure which can include vomiting, reduced appetite and tiredness.

Informative image: skin lesion example alabama rot

Is there any treatment for Alabama Rot?

Treatment involves aggressive management and monitoring of the kidney failure. The earlier this treatment is started the better the outcome is likely to be. Unfortunately a number of the dogs diagnosed with CRGV have not survived; however, the disease is not invariably fatal and some dogs can survive the disease. If we suspect a dog has the disease then we usually keep them in hospital on fluid therapy, medical treatment and do regular blood tests to check their kidney function. 


If my dog is diagnosed with CRGV will other pets in the same household be at risk?

There is no evidence so far to indicate that wildlife or other domestic pets are at risk if your dog is diagnosed with CRGV. It is not an infectious disease and it cannot be vaccinated against, protected against or prevented.

It is important to remember that this disease seems to only affect a very small number of dogs and that most skin abnormalities will not be related to it. Similarly most causes of kidney failure have nothing to do with CRGV.

If after reading this article you have any concerns about your dog, especially if they have a recent skin abnormality (a swelling, patch of red skin or defect in the skin) of unknown cause, please make and appointment. 

You can read more about Alabama Rot on the Forestry Commission's website.

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