Cutaneous-renal vasculopathy

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Cutaneous-renal vasculopathy (Alabama rot) is a familial vascular disorder of Greyhound and Great Dane dogs[1].

This is a potentially fatal disease of unknown origin[2] that closely resembles hemolytic-uremic syndrome in humans associated with Escherichia coli-induced DIC. In dogs, DIC does not appear to be a feature of this condition and glomerular endothelial damage appears to play a pivotal role in its pathogenesis[3].

Clinical signs in affected dogs include acute erythema and edema progressing rapidly to well-demarcated cutaneous ulcers of the distal extremities, especially the hind legs. Some dogs develop acute renal failure, which is usually fatal. These dogs may develop acute renal failure with polydypsia, polyuria, vomiting and diarrhea.

In some dogs the clinical signs are limited to the skin and gradually heal. Other dogs present with skin lesions, lethargy and fever.

Blood results usually reveal thrombocytopenia, neutrophilia and elevated creatinine kinase[4].

Skin and renal biopsies should be performed to exclude bacterial infections such as E. coli, Rickettsia spp, Ehrlichia canis and Leptospira interrogans.

A differential diagnosis would include exertional myopathy, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.

Cutaneous lesions are characterized by fibrinoid vascular necrosis of the small to medium sized arterioles, with ischemic necrosis and ulceration of the epidermis. Renal lesions are predominately glomerular, including hyalin thrombi in glomerular capillaries and occasionally afferent arterioles and segmental to global necrosis with pyknosis and karyorrhexis.


  1. Rotermund A et al (2002) Cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy in a great dane resembling 'Alabama rot' of greyhounds. Vet Rec 151(17):510-512
  2. Carpenter JL et al (1988) Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy of greyhounds. Vet Pathol 25(6):401-407
  3. Hertzke DM et al (1995) Glomerular ultrastructural lesions of idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy of greyhounds. Vet Pathol 32(5):451-459
  4. Cowan LA et al (1997) Clinical and clinicopathologic abnormalities in greyhounds with cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy: 18 cases (1992-1994). J Am Vet Med Assoc 210(6):789-793