Lethal Acrodermatitis is a serious inherited skin condition in Miniature Bull Terriers, which causes early death. This disease causes severe retardation of growth, thick skin and painful blisters on the muzzle, eyes, nose, ears, feet, and mucous membranes, which eventually leads to pneumonia and death. The most commonly affected areas are the muzzle, ears, feet, legs, and groin. Most breeders can recognize the disease in the puppy by the time it is six to eight weeks old because it is less than half the size of the other puppies in the litter and has flat, splayed feet with dermatitis. 

Symptoms of Lethal Acrodermatitis in Dogs

If your dog has lethal acrodermatitis, the signs will most likely be evident by the time he is about three to six months old. Some of the most often seen complaints are:

  • Thickened skin on legs and feet
  • Painful eruptions on toes
  • Pustules and lesions on face
  • Blisters on mucous membranes (lips, nostrils, mouth, genitals, throat)
  • Slow growth Standing with legs splayed apart
  • Deformed and broken nails
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty eating
  • Numerous bacterial infections
  • Frequent nasal discharge
  • Pneumonia (high body temperature, coughing, breathing difficulty)
  • Death

Just like PLL, Lethal Acrodermatitis is an inherited condition and is described as an autosomal-recessive condition. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

Two clear parents can only produce clear puppies – these puppies do not need to be tested as they are ‘clear by parentage’.

A ‘clear’ can be mated to a ‘carrier’ in which case all pups must be tested as they could be “clear” or a “carrier” and should be certificated to confirm their status.

Under no circumstances should anyone breed using two ‘carriers’.


The University of Bern, Switzerland, headed by Prof. Dr. Tosso Leeb, conducted a research programme into this disease, as a result of this a genetic test has been available since 2018.


Laboklin (UK)

Phone: 0161 282 3066
Phone: 01624 679 720
Email: Laboklin
Web: www.laboklin.co.uk

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