Alabama rot – What every dog owner needs to know

By Gemma Hopkins on 17 May 2017

With the recent news coverage of Alabama rot, or to give it its official name, Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), we asked one of the UK’s leading experts on the disease to give us some more information.

David Walker BVetMed(Hons) DipACVIM DipECVIM-CA MRCVS is head of medicine at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists and he and his team are are leading research into CRGV in the UK.

What is Alabama rot or CRGV?

Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV) or ‘Alabama rot’ is a disease of unknown cause, which leads to skin sores/lesions on the bottom of the legs, pads, body and face. It is often associated with sudden onset kidney failure (acute kidney injury or AKI). Prior to its identification in the United Kingdom, Alabama rot had previously been reported in greyhounds in the USA.

Since November 2012, more than 100 dogs from 29 counties across the UK have been recognised to have findings similar to those reported in greyhounds in the USA in the 1980’s.

What are the common symptoms?

In affected dogs, skin lesions commonly appear less than a week before clinical signs of kidney failure (tiredness, vomiting, not eating). However, not all animals with Alabama rot develop kidney failure.

alabama rot symptom - circular erosion of the pad

Circular erosion on the pad of a dog Photo credit – Anderson Moores

alabama rot symptom - deep ulcer on the inside of dog leg

Deep ulcer on the inside of a front leg Photo credit – Anderson Moores

Does it affect all breeds?

A range of breeds have been identified with Alabama rot in the UK suggesting the disease does not solely affect greyhounds. English springer spaniels and Labrador retrievers have been affected most commonly.  There does not appear to be a link to body weight, sex or age.

Are there any hotspots in the UK?

Cases have been identified across the whole of UK and there appears to be a seasonal distribution with the majority of the affected dogs presenting between November and May.

You can check for confirmed cases in your area on Vets4Pets website.

An environmental trigger for this disease is a possibility, although to date this has not been confirmed.

How is it diagnosed?

A definite diagnosis of Alabama rot can only be made by assessment of a kidney sample under the microscope; however, the index of suspicion for the disease can be high based upon the presence of skin lesions, kidney failure and some other blood test changes.

If your local vet suspects Alabama rot please ask them to contact Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists.

What if my dog is diagnosed with Alabama rot?

Unfortunately, the outlook for dogs with Alabama rot who have kidney failure is poor; however, some dogs have survived the disease with intensive management.


About David Walker

David Walker - UK expert on Alabama rot
David Walker is an RCVS recognised specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine. He is a diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine. David is head of medicine at Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, a large multidisciplinary specialist referral practice in Hampshire. David and his team are leading research into CRGV in the UK.

Updates on Alabama rot will be provided on the Anderson Moores facebook page and twitter feed.

Gemma Hopkins BVetMed, CertVC, MRCVS, RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Veterinary Cardiology


Gemma holds an RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Cardiology and continues to work part time in practice to remain up to date and continue her interest in cardiology