There has been a lot of attention in the media recently about a mystery illness causing symptoms similar to Alabama Rot. The correct term for it is a bit of a mouthful – idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV). Idiopathic meaning that the cause is unknown.
We understand that as dog owners you will be very concerned so we thought we would give you some up to date information.
What is CRGV
It is a condition that causes acute kidney failure usually with concurrent skin wounds. Despite extensive testing the actual cause is still unknown. It causes similar symptoms to a disease called Alabama Rot, which is caused by a toxin released by E. coli bacteria. This has not been isolated in the cases in the UK.
Where has it been reported
There have now been 27 confirmed cases since December 2012, and 10 of those in the last year. The first reports came out of the New Forest but it has also been confirmed in Surrey, Dorset, Yorkshire, Cornwall, Durham, Shropshire and Worcestershire. So far there has been one confirmed case in Northamptonshire.
What should I look out for
Affected dogs develop sores on their limbs usually below the elbow or knee. These can manifest as swollen lumps that ulcerate or skin wounds. Within 7 days dogs then start to vomit, lose their appetite and become tired. The kidney failure can be irreversible and lead to death.
How is it diagnosed
A presumtive diagnosis is made on clinical signs. A definitive diagnosis requires post-mortem examination of kidneys and skin and can take 4-6 weeks to be confirmed.
What should I do if I’m worried about my dog
If you are at all worried about your dog then please come and see us as soon as possible. Should your dog be affected then early recognition and aggressive management of the condition is likely to lead to the best outcome.
Advice about walking your dog
As the actual cause or trigger of the disease is unknown it is very difficult to give specific advice on prevention. Some people advocate washing your dogs off after a walk in the forest but it is unknown if this makes a difference
Important to remember
Only a very small number of dogs have been affected by this disease in relationship to how many dogs get walked in the affected areas. Most causes of skin wounds and kidney failure are not caused by CRGV
We are here to help if you are at all worried.
There is more information on the website of Anderson Moores, veterinary specialists in Winchester, who are offering free post mortems on suspected cases.