In recent months, there have been a few more instances of Alabama Rot appearing in our region, and the folks I’ve spoken to about it were unaware that the illness even existed.
What exactly is this Alabama Rot?
Alabama Rot, also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy or CRGV, is a dangerous illness that has just recently been identified as affecting dogs in the UK. Lesions appear on the skin and sometimes in the mouth, and they might resemble bites, ulcers, wounds, or stings. These lesions can be caused by this condition.
Some dogs go on to develop renal failure, which may be deadly in up to seventy to eighty percent of instances. Dogs of any age, sex, or breed are susceptible to contracting this illness.
Since 2012, there have been 132 verified occurrences of Alabama Rot throughout the UK. This number includes the region of the New Forest where the illness was first noticed. Regrettably, the illness cannot be definitely identified until there has been a death.
The Alabama Rot, also known as CRGV, is a condition that is characterized by the destruction of blood vessels in the skin and kidney. It causes the formation of microscopic blood clots inside the blood arteries, which obstruct the blood flow through those veins and may eventually result in harm to the afflicted tissue. This results in ulceration on the skin, but it may cause significant organ malfunction in the kidney if it is allowed to continue (kidney failure). There is no evidence that CRGV exists in animals other than dogs. In these instances, the canine owners whose dogs were diagnosed with CRGV did not themselves get the ailment.
Unfortunately, Jessica has had personal experience with the symptoms of this condition. In 2015, Molly and Pippa were both diagnosed with CRGV, and regrettably, Pippa did not survive her illness.
Various Methods of Treatment
The symptoms of CRGV are addressed with treatment. Antibiotics are often prescribed to patients with skin lesions in order to prevent subsequent infections, and regular blood testing is recommended in order to monitor kidney function. During their time in the hospital, patients will often get intravenous fluid treatment in order to assist in supporting their kidneys. The amount of urine passed as well as the protein content of the urine is both monitored and evaluated. There are a variety of therapeutic options available in the event that signs of kidney damage become obvious; however, the majority of these procedures are quite intrusive and carry a significant level of risk. Some treatments are as follows:
- Plasma exchange is a technique that involves removing the patient’s blood from their body, separating it, and then removing their plasma and replacing it with donor plasma.
- Plasma transfusions include injecting the patient’s circulatory system with plasma obtained from a donor.
- Dialysis is a process that removes waste materials from the blood by the use of an artificial device.
Sadly, in spite of the availability of a wide variety of therapy options, the prognosis is still quite poor. There is a death incidence of ninety percent associated with the development of renal damage in CRGV patients.
Since then, she has put a lot of effort into spreading awareness and organizing charity events in the hopes of generating money for research into an unidentified illness.
Conversation with Jessica (interview)
- Were you previously familiar with the condition known as Alabama Rot?
“Yes, I was already familiar with the sickness. Because I work as a veterinary nurse, I had heard of the disease, but I had never seen a case on my own. Even though AR is quite uncommon, it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I saw the lesions. It was something I just knew in my gut.
- What were the first indications that Pippa and Molly had been infected with the disease?
“The first sign I noticed in Pippa was a very slight lameness, so she was checked by a vet a day before the lesions appeared. Everything was fine, and there was no sign of anything untoward, so her slight lameness was put down to overexertion on a walk. “The first sign I noticed in Pippa was a very slight lameness. The next morning when I came downstairs, Pippa was licking her leg, and that’s when I saw the lesions. I continued to find more of them as I petted her, and I counted a total of seven of them. The first indicator that anything was wrong with Molly was a little lesion that she kept licking, but she showed no signs of lameness at all. This occurred three days after the hike on which they were infected with the illness.
- When exactly did each of them get infected with the disease?
They were put through their paces at West Wood, which is located in Marlborough, Wiltshire. 3 days before the lesions made their appearance. Because my friend’s cocker, who we were walking with on that day, also acquired skin lesions but has happily survived, I am certain that this walk was the one during which they were infected with the illness.
- After the death of Pippa to Alabama Rot, what safety measures do you currently take?
“Ever since I had to put Pippa to sleep, I have a much better understanding of how filthy they can get on walks, but I still take the same safety measures. After that stroll, both of them were given a nice bubbly bath in warm water with shampoo, and if they were dirty, I washed them like I usually did in the past. We will never know whether or not it would have helped Pippa, but there is a chance that it may have saved Molly.
- After all, that’s transpired, have you noticed any changes in the way you walk your dog?
“My day-to-day dog walking habits have remained precisely the same, but I have become more worried about traveling to unfamiliar locations with them. As a result, I avoid deep woods; yet, they continue to swim and get filthy since spaniels are fond of these activities.”
- What can we do to support the #StopAlabamaRot movement?
Mention Pippa to your friends; it may save a life if they recognize the symptoms earlier; go to www.arrf.co.uk to donate; find us on Pledge For Pippa. “Anyone can help stop Alabama Rot by spreading the word, donating, and getting involved. Mention Pippa to your friends; it may save a life if they recognize the symptoms earlier.
Help raise money for @mollyandpipsandannie or “Stop Alabama Rot” by getting active in fundraising. We would be really grateful for any assistance.”
- Do you have any forthcoming activities that benefit charitable causes?
The Pledge for Pippa is the name of our next charitable event. On May 20 or 21, Stop Alabama Rot will be hosting a fun dog show at the Bell Inn in Purton Stoke, Wiltshire, SN59JG. All the relevant information can be found on the event’s Facebook page. It would mean the world to us to have you there!
I have high hopes that this has been of some use in raising awareness and has provided each of you with some understanding of Alabama Rot.