Linnaeus-owned Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Winchester has been leading research into cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) since 2012 and has recently launched a website dedicated to Alabama Rot, which offers advice and information, including a live map of confirmed cases across the UK. The referral centre has now confirmed the latest case near Warminster in Wiltshire.
David Walker, American, RCVS and EBVS European specialist in small animal internal medicine, leads the team at Anderson Moores and is the UK’s foremost authority on the disease. He said: “We’re very sad to confirm a third case of CRGV this year. Unfortunately, we find ourselves at the time of year when cases are most commonly identified.
“It is understandably worrying for dog owners; however, I must stress that this disease is still very rare. We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and seek advice from their vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions.”
The disease, which originally appeared in the late 1980s, was first detected in the UK in 2012. It affects the kidneys and has a 90 per cent mortality rate. The new case follows 28 throughout 2021 and 47 in 2020, and takes the total number of confirmed cases in the UK to 282.
The latest victim was Trigger Treasure, a five-year-old Labrador-Retriever. His owner Helen Treasure, who lives just outside Warminster, said the hardest part of seeing her pet fall ill was not knowing exactly what was wrong.
Helen said: “I thought Trigger seemed quiet and his sheath looked quite inflamed, so we thought he might have an infection. This was on the Thursday and the next day we took him to our local vets, who prescribed antibiotics.
“He was still quiet and was eating a little but not as much as usual. On the Sunday, he was sick so we went back to the vets who gave him anti-sickness drugs and changed his medication in case it was a reaction to that.
“I tried tempting him with all the food under the sun but he just wasn’t interested. He wasn’t a greedy dog anyway but he was eating nowhere near what he would usually. After drinking some water, he was then sick again and I knew something was really not right, so we went back to the vets.
“They carried out blood tests and on the five-minute journey home they called to say Trigger had acute kidney failure. They weren’t sure at the time of the reasons behind it and he was on a drip all night but deteriorating, so we made the heart-breaking decision to have him put to sleep.
“After this, the vets confirmed he also had a tiny lesion on his tongue – something they said they would never have spotted when he was alive.”
While CRGV is often fatal, David said the best chance of recovery probably lies with early and intensive veterinary care which may be best provided at a specialist facility. He said: “We have been at the forefront of research into CRGV for almost a decade and have witnessed first-hand the often-devastating effects of the disease.
“Treatment largely revolves around management of the sudden onset kidney failure and, sadly, with our current understanding of the disease, is only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.”
David added that he hoped Anderson Moores’ dedicated new CRGV website would be a useful tool for both dog owners and fellow veterinary professionals. “In launching this new website, we aim to give both pet owners and colleagues across the industry as much information as possible about CRGV,” he said.
Anderson Moores offers specialist care in anaesthesia and analgesia, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, emergency and critical care, feline hyperthyroid clinic, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, orthopaedics and soft tissue surgery.
The view Anderson Moores’ new dedicated CRGV website, which includes a nationwide live map of cases. visit the Alabama rot website.