Lethal Acrodermatitis (LAD) is a disease characterized by growth retardation, skin disease of the face and feet, diarrhea, pneumonia, eating difficulties and increased susceptibility to microbial infections. It is a rare inherited disorder of Bull Terriers caused by zinc deficiency and characterized by progressive inflammation of the skin and is always fatal. It resembles acrodermatitis enteropathica in humans, but cannot be treated with zinc supplement therapy.
Most commonly seen clinical signs include:
- Growth retardation
- Chronic bacterial skin inflammation marked by pus-filled lesions (pyoderma)
- Inflammation of the foot pad tissues and nails usually accompanied by yeast and fungal infection and pus formation (paronychia)
- Tail chasing behavior
Although some of these signs are characteristic of zinc deficiency which is not related to LAD, the combination of the above signs in young Bull Terrier puppies should strongly indicate that they suffer from LAD. Affected puppies are lighter in color, and, usually by 1 to 3 months of age, the skin on their feet is red, covered with cracks and crust.
There is no treatment for this skin disease. Affected puppies become passive, and usually die or are euthanized before the age of 6 or 7 months because of generalized untreatable infections. Lethal Acrodermatitis is a rare inherited disorder of Bull Terriers