What is CRGV?
CRGV is a disease of dogs, causing ulceration of the skin and, in some cases, kidney damage. The disease is caused by injury to the lining of blood vessels of the skin and kidney, which leads to formation of tiny blood clots. This blocks the blood vessels and can ultimately lead to damage of the affected tissue. In the skin, this causes ulceration; however, in the kidney it can lead to a form of kidney failure known as acute kidney injury (or AKI). The skin ulcers are most commonly seen on the limbs and face and in the oral cavity, most notably on the tongue.
What causes CRGV?
The cause at this time remains unknown but investigations are ongoing.
How do I stop my dog from getting CRGV?
Unfortunately, as the cause is currently unknown, it is very difficult to give specific advice about prevention. You may wish to consider bathing any area of your dog which becomes wet or muddy on a walk; however, at this stage we do not know if this is necessary or of any benefit.
Where should I walk my dog to avoid CRGV?
Cases of CRGV have been reported from across many different counties in the UK and we are not currently advising dog owners to avoid any particular locations. Although an environmental cause for this disease is considered possible it has not been proven with testing to date.
How will I know if my dog gets CRGV?
Unexplained redness, sores or swelling of the skin (particularly on the paws or legs but also the body, face, tongue or mouth) are often the first sign of this disease. It is important to remember that most of the time a skin problem will NOT be caused by CRGV; however, the lesions in CRGV can be difficult to distinguish from cuts, wounds, stings or bites, so if in doubt it is better to seek veterinary advice. Even if the skin changes are caused by CRGV, many dogs will not develop kidney problems and will recover fully.
How is CRGV treated?
If your dog develops a skin lesion, your vet will be able to advise you on the most appropriate management. Your vet will decide if your dog needs antibiotics and if the area needs covering. Some forms of painkiller (called non-steroidals) may be best avoided.
Dogs developing acute kidney injury will need much more intensive management and your vet may discuss referral to a specialist with you.
How Many Dogs Have Been Affected?
To date there have been 78 confirmed cases
Are any dogs at particular risk of getting CRGV?
Many different breeds of dog and all ages and sexes have been affected, so there is no current evidence that any one dog is more at risk from this illness than any other dog.
What can I do to help?
There are many ways in which owners of all dogs can get involved to raise awareness of CRGV and to participate in and fundraise for ongoing research
Research into new diseases requires a lot of funding. This pays for the development of new diagnostic tests, investigation of the causes of the disease and, ultimately, the development of more effective treatments
- The New Forest Dog Owners Group: set up a research fund for CRGV in 2014. If you would like to donate or participate in fundraising please visit www.newforestdog.org.uk
- The Alabama Rot Research Fund (ARRF): has also just been set up as a National charity, and are aiming to raise half a million pounds for ongoing research!
Is CRGV the same illness as seasonal canine illness (SCI)? No – these are two completely separate illnesses. SCI causes vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy with no ulcerative skin lesions, and generally no AKI
Can dogs get CRGV all year round? Over the last 4 years, more CRGV cases have been seen between November and May than between June and October, suggesting a possible Winter / Spring seasonality.
Does CRGV affect other animals or humans? CRGV has not been seen in any animals other than dogs. Owners of dogs affected by CRGV have not been affected by this illness.