New Forest Disease (also known as cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy) is a disease similar to Alabama Rot and leads to kidney failure in dogs. It was first seen in the UK in November 2012 and there have been over 60 confirmed cases since. It most commonly occurs between December and March, suggesting a possible winter seasonality.
Clinical signs are caused because blood vessels in the skin and kidney become damaged, leading to the formation of tiny clots within them. This kills the affected tissue and leads to kidney failure and erosions in the skin up to 5cm in diameter. The actual cause is thought to be related to a toxin produced by a bacteria (E coli) which gets into the body through a skin wound (usually on the leg but occasionally face or belly).
Diagnosis is generally made on blood tests and clinical signs, but a kidney biopsy may be required to be definitive. However, blood kidney values take a little time to increase and so monitoring for a period of time may be required. The skin lesions are usually seen on face, mouth or lower limbs and initially look superficial, resembling bites, stings and wounds. The average time from skin lesion appearance to the development of kidney disease is 3 days (range 0-10 days), and there does appear to be some dogs where only skin lesions develop.
Treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful once the toxin has done its damage, so early treatment of suspicious wounds with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories is advised. Please contact the surgery if you are concerned about any wound on your dog.