In 2017 there was a suspected outbreak of idiopathic Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (iCRGV), commonly known as Alabama Rot, in Cannock Chase. Three dogs who died in the area were thought to have contracted this very rare disease.
Since these shocking events, Amanda Milling, Member of Parliament for Cannock Chase, has been raising these deaths with the Government in an effort to shed more light on this fatal disease. The MP is keen to see more research done on this mysterious illness and local dog owners made aware of the symptoms.
When the cases came to light in 2017, the Cannock Chase MP raised the issue with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as reaching out to local vets to ask them to aid the ongoing research efforts if they came across any suspected cases. Amanda also contacted the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, Local Authorities, RSPCA and the Animal and Plant Health Agency about the disease and what steps are being taken to prevent further deaths.
Suspected cases are largely seen during the winter months, which is why the Cannock Chase MP has again contacted local vets. She has urged them to be aware of deadly disease, to make local dog owners aware of the symptoms and preventative measures as well as take part in research if they come across any possible cases. Veterinary surgeon, Dr Fiona MacDonald, is researching this disease and the Cannock Chase MP has asked local vets to provide blood samples from suspected Alabama Rot cases to Dr McDonald for further research. The veterinary surgeon has offered to send out swabs along with a sampling protocol to any veterinarian for this purpose.
Amanda Milling MP said: “Though little is known about the cause of the disease, it is important to make pet owners understand the symptoms and how to look for them, and to encourage them to wash their dog’s paws after each walk. As suspected cases are largely seen during the winter months, I have recently written to local vets urging them to be alert to possible cases. I have asked that if they do come across any suspected cases that they provide blood samples for the on-going research into this very rare disease. I hope that through continued research the cause of this terrible disease can be identified and treated.“
The cause of the disease is currently unknown, however dog owners are advised to clean their paws after every walk and check for any cuts or abrasions that are not healing. Anyone who is concerned about their dog’s health should seek assistance from their local vet.
The first sign that the disease has been contracted is skin sores (typically below the knee or elbow, or occasionally on the stomach or face) that have not been caused by a physical injury. These sores can present as lesions, swelling, a patch of red skin, or may be open and ulcer-like. These lesions will be followed a few days later by symptoms of kidney failure, reduced appetite, fatigue and vomiting.