Last week, our practice saw the first confirmed case of Alabama Rot in the Welsh Valleys area

What is Alabama Rot?

Alabama Rot (properly known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy or CRGV) is a new and emerging disease in the UK which can be rapidly fatal in dogs. The disease has been present in the UK for a number of years, but last week saw the first confirmed case in the Welsh Valleys area; at our practice in Tonypandy.

Last week, Mr B (Bilbo) seen in the photos here, was seen by us for suspected Alabama Rot, as he developed ulcers on all four feet a few days after walking in Penrhiwfer woodland areas. We’re sad to report that Mr. B sadly didn’t make it. Testing has confirmed he had the disease, the first time it has been seen in this area of the country.

Scientists still don’t fully understand the cause of Alabama Rot, which is part of what makes it so dangerous – without knowing what causes it, we don’t fully understand how to treat it.

The disease seems to occur mostly in dogs which have been walked in muddy Woodland areas. The number of cases seen so far remains very small – about 100 cases across the UK, so most dogs are not affected even when walking in these areas and the total risk to family pets remains low.

Alabama Rot (CRGV) initially presents as skin lesions such as ulcers on the legs, muzzle, tongue or gums (caused by tiny blood clots), but in some cases can progress to severe kidney failure which can be untreatable.

How will I know if my dog gets CRGV?

The first signs of the disease can be unexplained redness, soreness or ulcers or swelling, particularly on the legs and muzzle area.  It’s important to remember the risk is still low – most skin problems are NOT CRGV. if you are concerned about skin ulcers on the legs or muzzle or ulcers on the tongue, we advise seeking veterinary advice.

Most cases of CRGV are seen in the Winter – between about November and May.

How do I reduce my dog’s risk?

Because not enough is known about the cause, it is hard to offer specific advice. Currently the best advice we know is if walking dogs in muddy woodland areas to rinse or clean the mud off well after each walk. This seems to help prevent ingestion of any mud or infectious agent.  If you have concerns your dog may have ulcerations or skin lesions, we recommend seeking veterinary advice. At present there is no confirmed treatment although research shows Antibiotics may be helpful. Treating a potential case before any evidence of kidney failure seems to be most helpful.

Do I need to be worried?

Currently Alabama Rot is very rare and there have only been a few cases. The overall risk is very low, but following the first confirmed case in this area, spreading awareness of the signs to look for and other risk factors may help reduce the risk for other dog owners.

The Alabama Rot Research fund has further information and links for any concerned owners, see the link below

Mr B (Bilbo)
a picture of an ulcerated patch on a dog's paw
a picture of an ulcerated patch on a dog's paw