Dog owners in south London are being warned to take extra precautions after cases of a rare and extremely deadly dog disease were confirmed.

February saw cases of CRGV, perhaps more commonly known as Alabama Rot, confirmed in both Wimbledon and Richmond.

The warning has been issued by experts at Anderson Moores, an animal hospital which is leading research into the condition.

It is suspected that the disease is picked up on the paws and legs on muddy walks, so dog owners are being urged to wash off all mud from their four-legged friends as soon as they get home.

David Walker, who heads the team at Anderson Moores and is regarded as the UK’s foremost authority on the disease, said: “Unfortunately, we have to confirm another five cases of CRGV, taking the 2021 total to 17 cases.

“Sadly, we find ourselves at the time of year when cases are most commonly identified. It is understandably a worrying time for dog owners with regard to CRGV; however, the disease remains rare.

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Another dog with Alabama Rot

“The disease seems to appear across many counties at this time of year. January and February are typically our highest case number months and, sadly, this year is no different.

“We’re advising dog owners across the country to remain calm but vigilant and seek advice from their local vets if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions."

He added: “If a dog becomes affected by CRGV, the best chance of recovery probably lies with early and intensive veterinary care which may be best provided at a specialist facility such as Anderson Moores.

“Treatment primarily revolves around intensive management of the acute kidney injury and is sadly only successful in around 10 per cent of cases.

“However, the team here at Anderson Moores successfully treated a suspected case of CRGV in a Labrador Retriever. Molly was referred to our internal medicine team due to limb swelling and a deep, painful ulcerative lesion on one of her legs.

“Following four days’ intensive treatment, her condition started to improve and we began to cautiously hope she would survive the disease.

“Molly continued to slowly improve and, after two nerve-wracking weeks, she was discharged to continue her recovery at home.

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“Sadly, stories such as Molly’s are relatively rare, with CRGV remaining a devastating disease, without a known cause or treatment. The disease has taken away many beloved dogs from their families.”

What are the symptoms?

The flesh-eating condition, scientifically known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), can affect any age or breed of dog, although breeds which have been most affected include:

  • Labradors
  • English springer spaniels
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Whippets
  • Flat-coated Retrievers
  • Hungarian vizslas
  • Border collies

The first sign of the disease is often a sore on the skin. This is usually found under a dog’s elbow or knee. The skin can become red and the sore makes it look like an open ulcer.

Other symptoms can include fatigue, bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite and drooling.

After a few days, the dog will start showing signs of kidney failure.

To find out more about CRGV, visit here