Lethal Acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers: Molly’s story

Lethal Acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers

Today we are with Molly, a bull terrier from UK, and her Human Pawrent Adrienne. Follow this little cutie at her Instagram account at @mollythezincer. Our main reason for doing this interview is to hear Adrienne, who kindly agreed to speak about Molly and her condition, Lethal Acrodermatitis to spread the knowledge among other bull terrier owners that may be unaware of it.

Hello Adrienne! What is your pup’s name and why did you pick that name?

Molly, it was the name we first thought of when we met her and it suits her.

How old is Molly?

Two Years Old

Lethal Acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers: Molly's story

Where are you and Molly from?


How did you decide to adopt a bull terrier and why this breed?

We bought Molly as a puppy and we have always wanted a Bull Terrier as we love the breed. We love their personalities and their clownish nature. They are also unique looking and we think they are the cutest.

Would you please tell us more about Molly’s condition? How did it start? what symptoms? What is there to be done about it? How is your pup doing now?

Lethal Acrodermatitis (LAD) is a rare breed-specific genetic disease of bull terriers. It is life long condition and there is no cure. Clinical signs usually present in puppies, with growth retardation, eating difficulty caused by a short tongue and high palate, characteristic skin lesions on the feet, legs, snout and hocks, chronic fatigue and paronychia. Affected pups can also display abnormal behaviour and suffer with diarrhoea, though not all affected pups display all of these symptoms.

LAD affected dogs have low immune systems, meaning they are can develop bacterial and yeast infections. They are also prone to Bronchopneumonia, which can prove fatal.

The Lethal Acrodermatitis mutation is recessive; this means that a dog must inherit 2 copies of the mutation, one from each parent, to be clinically affected by LAD. Dogs with one copy of the defective gene and one copy of the normal gene, called carriers, show no signs of disease but can pass the defective gene onto their offspring.

It is only possible to identify carriers with DNA testing. Dogs fall into three categories, CLEAR of the mutated gene, a CARRIER of the mutated gene and AFFECTED by the mutated gene (LAD). When two carriers are bred, 25% (on average) of the offspring will be affected by the disease, 25% will be clear and the remaining 50% will themselves be carriers. Molly was diagnosed by a DNA Test by the Animal Health Trust after a UK charity contacted us via social media advising us that Molly appeared to display symptoms of LAD and we should get her tested. We did this and the test came back as AFFECTED by LAD. We had never heard of this condition and neither had our local veterinary surgery or the vets that had completed veterinary checks before she was sold to us. This is why we are so keen to raise awareness of this condition.

There is a medication plan to manage the condition, however the medication can cost up to £100.00 monthly. Molly is an affected dog by Lethal Acrodermatitis and has daily medical and care needs that must be met to ensure her quality of life and her symptoms do not become fatal. Molly is a happy dog and she is lucky to be mildly affected by LAD, meaning she can still go out for walks, her mobility is not affected and she responds well to the medication but she does tire out easily and can not go out for lengthy walks. She does need to be kept warm and her paws need to be bathed and creams applied to them daily. We also put boots on her feet to prevent splits on the pads of her paws.

It’s great to hear that Molly is doing well despite this serious condition! I know the readers will be happy to read about it! Thank you so much for telling us more about her condition! Now if we could ask just a few more questions: 

What is Molly’s favorite food? Any recommendations on food for other bull terrier owners?

Molly is on a raw meat diet and her favourite meat is Tripe. Though she will happily eat anything she is offered.

Lethal Acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers: Molly's story

What are your bull terrier’s favorite toys or games? What does your dog love doing most?

Molly’s favourite game is Chase, she loves her toy monkey and her favourite activity is SLEEPING.

Is there a funny story you could tell us about Molly?

A funny story I could tell you about Molly is her attention seeking habits. She wants all eyes on her at all times as she is a complete DIVA. If she finds you watching TV and you are not paying her due attention, she will pull the plug out of the socket by the wire.

What do you love most about your bull terrier?

We love having a Bull Terrier, they are comedians in dog form. They are so entertaining and have so many funny habits and behaviours. They are also the most loving and sweet natured dogs.

What are some downsides to having a bull terrier?

Bull Terriers are very stubborn dogs so require a lot of training.

Do you travel with your bull terrier? What do you do when you need to go on vacation? (Pet sitter? Dog hotel?)

We do travel with Molly, we book dog friendly hotels and take her on the beach, which she loves. If we go abroad, Molly has a foster mum that she stays with, who cares for another dog with Lethal Acrodermatitis.

Would you recommend other people to have a bull terrier, why or why not?

I would highly recommend a Bull Terrier for the family, as they are the most sweet natured and loving dogs. They are highly entertaining and love to give cuddles and kisses. They do require training though, as the stubbornness of these clownish dogs is a very prominent trait of the breed.

Thank you so much Adrienne and Molly for sharing your story! We will do our best to share it among other bull terriers and bull terrier lovers out there so everyone is informed! We wish you great health and happy years of life 🙂

P.S. Miniature Bull Terriers are also suceptible to Lethal Acrodermatitis.

You can also read:

Bull terrier pros and cons – are you sure a bull terrier is for you?
Bull Terrier Temperament: things to know before getting a bull terrier
Miniature bull terrier: why should you consider a mini bull terrier

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2 Responses

  1. Marie says:

    Lovely to see molly ‘there is no need for this ‘there is DNA testing of dogs so they don’t pass it on .Ive had bully’s for over 30 years and lucky we haven’t experienced this . I would strongly recommend buying a pup from kennel registered breeders who DNA test all there dogs .There are still some breeders out there who don’t have there dogs tested .lovely molly has a great family who are clearly giving her the best care .

  2. Ms Bull Terrier says:

    Thanks so much Marie!

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