Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow

What is Alabama rot?
Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) is most commonly known as “Alabama rot”. It is a disease that was first recognised in racing Greyhounds in Alabama, USA in the 1980’s (Carpenter et al, 1988). This disease has gained lots of media attention recently due to its reoccurrence and since 2012 in the UK it has been recognised in various breeds of dog (Vet Times, 2017). The cause of CRGV is currently unknown and there is research being carried out to try to further understand the pathogenesis and character of this disease.  It is variably associated with clinically relevant acute kidney injury (AKI) (Holm et al, 2015). 85% of Alabama rot cases prove to be fatal (http://www.arrf.co.uk/about.html).

Clinical signs?
This disease is characterised by skin ulceration, most commonly affecting the distal limbs below the elbow and knee (Vet Times, 2017). The clinical signs may also include redness, sores and swellings of the skin. A proportion of the affected dogs develop kidney injury within 2-7 days (Vet Times, 2017). Severe kidney ulceration will lead to organ dysfunction which can be fatal.

Confirmed cases?
Diagnosing this disease can be difficult and the best diagnosis is via post-mortem. Vets4pets are carrying out ongoing surveys in an attempt to map out the confirmed affected areas (http://www.vets4pets.com/stop-alabama-rot/). According to the ‘Alabama rot research fund’, there has been 162 confirmed cases since 2012, and cases are continuing to rise. (http://www.arrf.co.uk/confirmed-cases.html). In 2019 so far, there have been 13 recorded cases (https://www.countryfile.com/news/guide-to-alabama-rot-dog-disease-how-to-spot-the-signs-and-protect-your-dog/)

Is it a seasonal disease?
Alabama rot is most commonly seen between November and May each year, suggesting a possible seasonality aspect. However, the reasoning behind this seasonality is not understood. New advice suggests keeping dogs away from muddy areas during these seasons.

Continued research into this disease is crucial to gain a full understanding of the disease process and the cause of Alabama rot. The question to eventually answer is whether it is an emerging disease or one that has been present all this time but unrecognised?

1. Carpenter, J, L. Andelman, N, C. Moore, F, M. 1988. Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy of Greyhounds. Veterinary Pathology.
2. Holm, L, P. Hawkins, I. Robin, C. Newton, R, J.Jepson, R. Stanzani, G. McMahon, L, A. Pesavento, P. Carr, T. Cogan, T. Couto, C, G. Cianociolo, R.Walker, D, J. 2015. Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy as a cause of acute kidney injury in dogs in the U.K. Veterinary record.

Alabama Rot