Terrier LAD Awareness Website
- A lethal syndrome characterized clinically by retarded growth,
progressive Acrodermatitis, chronic pyoderma and paronychia, diarrhoea,
pneumonia, and abnormal behaviour.
Jezyk et al, JAVMA 1986
When first born the LAD puppy is
often the smallest in the litter and may look pink as they often lack
pigment. The first indication is usually a restless, hungry puppy. Although
appearing to suckle well from the dam it will not be getting enough if any
milk. (you can test weigh before and after feeds to check) By about four
weeks old a size difference will be noticed, the LAD pup will be much
smaller than his/her littermates.
When weaning the puppy will
lap milk but as the meals get more solid, difficulty in feeding can be seen.
They also feed much slower than their littermates. The high arch of the top
palate causes food to stick to the roof of the mouth. It will be easier on
the puppy to liquidise food and to add water to it, LAD puppies have a
shorter than normal tongue so find it difficult to lap water, adding water
to food will ensure they are getting enough fluids.
At approximately 4-10 weeks
of age crusted skin lesions can be seen developing between the toes which
will be splayed, the footpads may be hard and cracked. The skin lesions
progress rapidly including nail bed infections. Nails grow quite fast and
will be distorted. The feet will look very deformed. Sore dry skin can
sometimes be noticed around the mouth and eyes at around the same time.
LAD puppies have a half shut eye look and sight may be affected. By 8 weeks
the LAD puppy will normally be at half the size or less of his/her
littermates, the coat of a coloured will be distinctively faded from that at
which he/she was born. The hips and back legs may look splayed and weak.
Co-ordination is difficult and they tend to transfix on faces or objects.
LAD puppies may suffer with
diarrhoea and can vary in severity this can also lead to dehydration. LAD
puppies are also prone to respiratory tract infections and pneumonia. Some
have heart murmurs again with differing severity.
A medication plan was put
together by Juliet Shaw (Badlesmere) after keeping her own LAD puppies, with
trials and errors she came up with a treatment that is still working for
these babies today. Medication of Steroids
given as soon as skin problems arise and creams such as Aloe Vera or if more
or creams for athletes foot applied can very quickly and
dramatically lesson the severity of skin lesions leaving just dry crusty
skin and thus a lot more comfortable and not at all painful for the puppy,
medication can start as young as 6 weeks old. Feet washing in antibacterial
wash and cream
applied can start as soon as the skin begins to look red, sore and/or
Many feel that LAD puppies
are aggressive and quite often remove them from there litter mates at an
early age. They do not bark but communicate by growling along with having no
bite inhibition gives the impression of aggression. LAD puppies cannot keep
up with littermates and get cross quickly, they prefer their own company or
human company (they do love a cuddle). I do not believe they are aggressive I
believe as I have already said that people confuse the growling with the
hard bite and come up with aggression.
Sometimes a less experienced
breeder will sell these puppies to unsuspecting puppy buyers, they may not
necessarily know the puppy is LAD and will perhaps presume it is a runt. It
can be difficult to know if skin symptoms do not show until past 8 weeks but
they may be able to notice other characteristics and know all is not
right and seek an opinion from established breeders, the breed clubs or
their veterinarian, although not many veterinarians are aware of this
problem, many LAD puppies die before 6 weeks of age or are PTS.
Please do not blame a breeder
if you find you have a LAD puppy it is not always easy to spot, if the vet
has diagnosed LAD or you suspect it please go straight to your breeder.
If he/she cares enough for the welfare of those they breed they will want to
know and will want to help.
Nowadays with more breeders
sharing experiences with LAD puppies they have kept, more breeders are
keeping them or finding trustworthy homes for them. Sharing information on
medication and general care has made it easier to give these special needs
bullies a chance for a happy and content life even though it may be a short
It is not an easy decision to
keep a Zincer, you need to be able to devote the time and love as well as
the medical bills for the rest of it's life. It is very rewarding watching
these babies grow it is also hard work. If you are considering a Zincer
living in your family please get some advice first so that you know exactly
what you are taking on.
Lethal Acrodermatitis is thought (but not yet
proved) to be automsomal recessive gene.
Both parents need to carry the faulty gene to pass it onto some or even all
of their offspring.
There is no test as yet for
however there is ongoing research into this disease. You will only know you
have carriers when a Zincer shows up in your breeding line.
If you suspect you have a LAD
puppy and your vet does not know what to do or is going through various
treatments that are not working please email me for advice on treatment and
care on the contact link at top of this page. I will be able to put you in
contact with someone who has a lot of experience with Zinker puppies.
information can be found at.
The Bull Terrier Club of
searching for Lethal Acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers