Alabama Rot in Dogs: Four Words You Don’t Want to Hear In the Same Sentence as your Dog’s Name—Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) aka Alabama Rot

If you think cancer is the worst thing that could happen to your dog, you might be wrong. These days, many cancers can be treated, and there are diseases that can kill your dog way faster than most cancers could.

Alabama Rot in Dogs: Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) aka Alabama Rot

What is Alabama rot?

This disease had first appeared in the UK six years ago. It has killed at least 29 dogs this year already. Alabama rot was first discovered in racing Greyhounds in Alabama in the 1980s. But it is killing dogs in the UK.

It’s a disease that attacks blood vessels of the kidneys and skin, resulting in skin sores and kidney failure. It is also referred to as Black Death disease and veterinarians are not sure what causes it and how it spreads.

How do you fix a problem if you don’t really know what the problem is?

It is believed that it may be contracted from puddles or stagnant water containing harmful bacteria. Or woodland or forested areas. Short of avoiding all the fun places your dog loves going, the only preventive measure is washing your dog’s feet after they walk through puddles or mud.

Once a dog does contract the disease, only two out of 10 dogs survive even with the best medical care.

If you live in the UK, the map detailing confirmed cases looks mighty scary.

Alabama Rot in Dogs: Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV) aka Alabama Rot

What does Alabama rot look like?

The first sign of Alabama rot is skin sores, usually on the feet and lower legs. Two to seven days later your dog will exhibit symptoms of kidney failure – vomiting, loss of appetite and fatigue.

The more familiar you are with the signs, the sooner your dog can get medical help.

If you have a Labrador, how do you not take out into the woods, how do you not let them play in the water and mud?

Indi’s story

When Indi developed couple sores on her foot, nothing about that looked alarming. She had a history of developing hotspots, and these looked just like any of those in the past. Indi was unbothered, happy and bouncy as always.

A couple of weeks later, Indi threw up her breakfast, but nothing else was popping any red flags. Everything seemed normal for the next couple of days until she seemed less interested in her breakfast. She ate it anyway only to throw it up two hours later.

Being a Lab, perhaps she ate something that didn’t agree with her?

Indi’s mom decided to fast her and see a vet the next day just in case.

The lesion on Indi’s foot had spread some but who would have made the connection between Indi’s foot lesion and vomiting? When offered a biscuit later in the day, Indi wolfed it down.

However, Indi started vomiting again early the next morning and wouldn’t even hold down water. At this time she also looked ill, and they were at the vet’s office the moment it opened.

Indi didn’t have a fever and being a Lab, an intestinal blockage was high on the suspect list. The lesion on her foot was not infected; which is what a hotspot would be – an infected skin. Are those two unrelated issues?

Indi stayed at the hospital for further diagnostics and IV fluids.

The diagnosis was devastating – the veterinarian was 99% certain Indi had Alabama rot. Indi was given intensive IV fluids, but her prognosis was grim.

Indi got to pass away in her garden, at her favorite spot, surrounded by love.

After her passing the diagnosis was ultimately confirmed; Indi passed from Alabama rot.

Read Indi’s original story here.

If you’d like to help #stopalabamarot, you can support the research into this deadly disease by donating to the Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF).

Categories: Alabama rotConditionsCutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV)Real-life StoriesSkin lesions

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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