Alabama Rot - up-date January 2018
Fish vet studies bacteria cause of Alabama Rot
A specialist fish vet is investigating an organism described as a possible stepping stone to identifying the cause of one of the UK's most baffling and lethal canine diseases.
Many dog owners have by now heard of Alabama Rot - the common name given to Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRVG) after it was first detected in 2012.
To date there have been 112 confirmed cases across 31 UK counties with a mortality rate of 80%.
To date, it's cause remains unknown.
However, fish vet, Fiona Macdonald is researching whether Aeromonas hydrophila, a heterotrophic, gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium, present in water sources and soil, might be involved in the cause of CRGV.
A hydrophila is associated with diseases mainly found in freshwater fish and amphibians - but is highly toxic to many organisms.
Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists (the UK's leading authority on CRGV) are interested in the results and hope that her paper will be published. This can then potentially lead on to take on the work to include or exclude this organism in the Alabama Rot investigation.
This is great news and something we look forward to hearing more about going forward.
As and when there are any developments, we will of course up-date you.
Alabama Rot the symptoms
Symptoms include unexplained redness, sores, skin ulcers or swelling of the skin. These have been found particularly on paws and legs, but have also been found on the body, head, mouth and tongue. Sometimes kidney failure can occur within three to ten days.
CRVG can affect any dog of any breed, age or size.
There is a seasonal link with more cases reported between November and April and especially with dogs walked in muddy woodland areas or terrain with cold running or standing water.
What to do if you suspect Alabama Rot
The numbers of dogs affected by CRVG is relatively low when you consider the thousands of dogs currently walking in the areas where there have been confirmed cases.
However, we do advise taking precautions and you might consider washing your dogs paws and under-carriage after walking in particularly muddy/wet areas.
If you see unusual/unexplained lesions on your dog, we would advise you to contact us (or your local vet) for an appointment when a good check-over can be carried out.
It's important to remember that in most cases a skin problem will not be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites. It's therefore better to be cautious and seek veterinary advice.
Research and fundraising
Research into new diseases requires a lot of funding. This pays for the development of new diagnostic tests, investigation of the causes of the disease and ultimately the development of more effective treatments.
The Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF) is a National Charity aiming to raise awareness and funds for Alabama Rot (CRGV). You can find out more about their work here: www.arrf.co.uk.
For further informationa and up-dates on CRVG visit Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.
You can read our original blog post dated January 2015 here Alabama Rot.
We also have a PDF guidance sheet with more information here Alabama Rot - PDF
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