Breakthrough In Treatment Of Deadly Alabama Rot

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Breakthrough in treatment of deadly ‘Alabama rot’
2nd August 2018

By Karen Pickwick
 
Researchers have made a ground-breaking discovery in the treatment of Alabama rot, a deadly disease that affects dogs.
 
Alabama rot – properly known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy or CRGV –first emerged in Alabama in the 1980s, giving it its nickname. The lack of understanding on how it spreads or can be stopped has led to high fatality rates for dogs that develop it. The reason for its sudden appearance in the UK six years ago also remains a mystery. 
 
It causes small clots in blood vessels, which eventually result in skin ulcers, tissue damage, and kidney failure in many cases. Many theories have been put forward about the cause; anything from E. coli-produced toxins to parasites and bacteria. But without knowing the exact source it is impossible to develop an effective cure.
 
The breakthrough treatment offered by the Royal Veterinary College’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals is known as therapeutic plasma exchange or plasmapheresis. This method involves filtering all the patient’s blood so that toxic substances, including whatever causes CRGV, are removed. Once filtered, the blood is returned to the patient.
 
Its development was made possible by the discovery of the similarities between Alabama rot in dogs and thrombotic microangiopathy in humans, which is also treated with plasma exchange.
 
The QMHA academics reported that two out of six dogs that underwent plasmapheresis made a full recovery.
 
The full findings of the research have been published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.