"Lethal acrodermatitis (LAD) DNA health testing for the English Bull Terrier dog breed
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"Lethal acrodermatitis (LAD) DNA health testing for the English Bull Terrier dog breed

Dogs
Health & Safety

The English bull terrier is quite an unusual looking dog thanks in large part to the shape of their heads, which has a noticeable convexity to the dome of the skull that gives the dog a unique and very distinctive head shape.

English bull terriers are medium-sized dogs that are stocky and very muscular, and that certainly look all business and no nonsense, helping to give the breed a commanding and sometimes imposing presence. However, English bull terriers are also very loving and affectionate dogs that form strong bonds with their families, and that tend to get on well with children of all ages, often being very protective over them too.

This is a good middle of the road breed for owners that want a dog that is a good all rounder without many significant challenges across the board; English bull terriers are reasonably intelligent, moderate in terms of their need for exercise, and very low maintenance on the grooming front. On the downside, they are not very tolerant of being left alone and need a lot of attention, and they can be quite sensitive and soulful dogs that don’t like change or upset.

In terms of English bull terrier health, the average lifespan of dogs of the breed is 10-14 years, which is relatively long lived for a pedigree breed of the bull terrier’s size. That said, there are a number of hereditary health conditions that can be found within certain populations of dogs of the breed, some of which can be very serious and even lead to a premature death.

One health condition that is acute and ultimately proves fatal for affected dogs is called lethal acrodermatitis, and this is a type of skin condition that can affect white dogs of the English bull terrier breed. This condition has a very serious negative impact on the dog’s quality of life, and cannot be reversed or cured, ultimately resulting in death or euthanasia.

There is a DNA testing scheme in place to enable English bull terrier breeders to identify the risk factors for their own breeding stock of carrying or passing on lethal acrodermatitis, which enables prospective breeders to make healthy mating matches, and reassure puppy buyers about their commitment to breed health.

In this article we will explain what is involved in English bull terrier lethal acrodermatitis DNA testing, how the condition is passed on from dog to dog, and the effects that it has too. Read on to learn more.

What is lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier?

Lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier is a type of hereditary skin disorder that is acute and serious. The condition usually becomes apparent for the first time in affected dogs while they are still young, and has a high mortality rate, usually proving fatal in dogs before they even reach their second birthdays.

English bull terrier lethal acrodermatitis is unique to white English bull terriers, due to the lack of skin pigmentation that such dogs possess. The symptoms of lethal acrodermatitis in English bull terriers include stunted or slow growth rate in puppies, and the development of overly thickened, hardened skin across the dog’s eyes, nose and muzzle, as well as the ears, paws, and mucous membranes. All of these areas are apt to develop weeping sores and blisters that are very painful for the dog, and that make dogs prone to developing secondary infections and other complications.

Lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier usually culminates in the development of pneumonia, resulting in death or euthanasia.

How is lethal acrodermatitis inherited within English bull terrier breed lines?

Lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier is an inherited condition, which is passed on through the breed line by means of autosomal recessive heredity. This means that it is the status of two parent dogs combined that determines the status of any offspring they may produce.

Once you know the status of any two given dogs that might be mated, you can work out the risk factors for their offspring; and this enables English bull terrier breeders to make an informed decision on making sensible, healthy mating matches.

A dog’s status for lethal acrodermatitis is either clear, carrier or affected, and whilst carrier dogs won’t become ill with lethal acrodermatitis themselves, they can still pass the condition onto their own young, depending on the status of the other dog in the mating match.

  • Two clear dogs will produce a clear litter.
  • Two affected parent dogs will produce an affected litter.
  • Two carrier parent dogs will have a litter with odds for each puppy of 50% for carrier status, 25% for clear status and 25% for affected status.
  • A clear dog and an affected dog will have a litter of carriers.
  • A clear dog and a carrier will have a litter with odds of 50-50 for each pup to be clear or a carrier respectively.
  • A carrier and an affected dog will have a litter with odds of 50-50 for each pup to be a carrier or affected respectively.

How to get an English bull terrier DNA tested for lethal acrodermatitis

Whilst lethal acrodermatitis in English bull terriers is self-evident in affected dogs, you cannot tell without testing if a dog that is healthy is actually clear of the condition, or may be a carrier of it.

Carrier dogs can pass the condition onto their own young if bred to another carrier or an affected dog, and so DNA testing for lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier is the only way to find out for sure about a dog’s status.

If you plan to breed from your English bull terrier and want to find out the odds for their litter, remember that both parent dogs need to be tested.

To get a DNA test for lethal acrodermatitis in the English bull terrier, you just need to ask your vet to take a DNA sample from your dog. This is then couriered to an approved laboratory for testing, who will return a result of the dog’s status to their owner.

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