Alabama rot: mysterious disease in dogs
Alabama rot is a deadly, somewhat mysterious disease in dogs, characterized by skin damage, particularly below the knee and elbow, and kidney failure. The cause of Alabama rot or idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy is still unknown. Until 2020, no cases of the condition are known in the Netherlands, but in England the disease has already been reported more than a hundred times and several dogs have died.
Alabama rot in dogs
- What is Alabama rotten?
- Occurrence in Europe
- Cause and treatment Alabama rot
What is Alabama rotten?
Alabama rot – also idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy – is a mostly fatal canine disease first discovered in the United States. Since 2012, the serious distemper has also surfaced in the United Kingdom, which has caused a lot of unrest among dog owners.
The condition is initially characterized by damage to the skin with focal swelling. The patches on the skin are usually 1 to 4 centimeters in length and mainly occur below the elbow and knee. Kidney problems occur between one and nine days after the lesion develops, eventually resulting in complete kidney failure, which in many cases will cause the dog to die.
Occurrence in Europe
The first cases of the disease in Europe were diagnosed in England in 2012. In 2014, the outbreak was determined to have the same cause as that of its Alabama namesake in the 1980s. Cases have been reported in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Forestry Commission England publishes confirmed cases of Alabama rot online so that dog owners can see if it occurs in their area. They are also advised to keep a close eye on whether their dog will show the characteristic skin damage. The condition is not in until 2020 The Netherlands or other parts of mainland Europe.
It is alarming that where the disease appeared to be limited to greyhounds in the United States, the variant that appears to occur in England does not appear to distinguish between breeds. Dogs of various breeds have been affected by the deadly disease there. Alabama rot has been found in Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Flat Coated Retrievers, Whippets, Cocker Spaniels, and Dobermans, among others.
Cause and treatment Alabama rot
It is thought that the cause must be sought in the bacteria Escherichia coli (also known as E. Coli) but there is no certainty about this among veterinarians. Some experts suspect it is a parasite. Experts have compared Alabama rot with a common human condition hemolytic uremic syndrome, involving a combination of acute renal failure, anemia and platelet deficiency. Hemolytic uremic syndrome is caused by the E. Coli bacteria and can be fatal to humans.
Precisely because the cause of the condition is unknown, it is nearly impossible to develop a vaccine against Alabama rot. There is also no targeted treatment for the condition, which means that only symptom control is actually possible. This mainly concerns protecting the dog’s kidneys. After this it appears that some dogs can overcome the disease, but in many cases it unfortunately turns out to be deadly. In an advanced stage, other organs including the pancreas can also be affected. With advanced organ damage, a vet will recommend putting the dog to sleep to avoid further suffering.