SuperDog Nominee Molly The Bullterrier Lives With A Rare Condition
Molly, a Bull Terrier, was just 12 weeks old when her new loving mum Sharon, brought her home.
It was soon clear however that something wasn't quite right. She seemed to have painful skin lesions, difficulty eating, learning difficulties, disfigured legs and very rough paws.
Obviously concerned, their next port of call was to take her to the vet. The vet tried various skin condition treatments but nothing worked and poor Molly’s condition continued, making her more and more uncomfortable. Feeling frustrated and confused, Molly’s owners posted a picture of their beloved pup on Social Media to see if anyone could help them find out more about what could be causing her problems. Thanks to the huge reach of social media their prayers were answered when Bull Terrier Rescue contacted them saying they suspected Molly had Lethal Acrodermatitis, also known as Zincer.
Lethal Acrodermatitis is a recessive mutation that specifically affects Bull Terriers. Dogs can carry the gene without being aware and when two dogs breed who both have the gene then the pups will be born with the active disease. After researching a little more, Sharon found that sadly Lily ticked all the boxes. Feeling distraught she took Molly back to the vet, who suggested that, as the condition is fatal and painful and that pups don’t usually live past 7 months, they put her to sleep. This option devastated them but they had to make the decision that was best for her so they went home to think about it.
As fate would have it, after leaving the vet, they received another message from the rescue organisation. They told them that there was a vet they work with who had found a medication that can help dogs like Molly. There was no cure but with life-long antibiotics and low doses of steroids, she could live a quality life.
Thanks to this life saving treatment, Molly's skin colour, frame and general condition have vastly improved. Sharon is delighted to report, “She is happy, she will always live with some discomfort but nothing that is not manageable. We give her daily paw care, (soaks and balm) to help with the Hyperkeratosis and meet the cost of her daily medication but that is a small price to pay for the love and devotion she gives us.”
Sharon is now raising awareness of the condition that can easily be eradicated as both parents have to be carriers to pass on to the pups. A DNA test costing less than £50 can be done to determine if the dog is a carrier and they urge anyone considering breeding Bull Terriers to have both dogs tested.
“Molly has exceeded all expectations and she is a joy to be around” says Sharon. “She has the comical traits of a Bull Terrier and loves all people and other dogs. She has re-written the rules for a sufferer of Lethal Acrodermatitis and will happily go out for a walk, saying hello to everyone she sees by being her sassy self. She does tire quickly and needs rest but she will keep going regardless so it's up to us to recognise when she is tiring. Molly's spirit is an inspiration and her will to lead a quality of life is second to none. We are so lucky to have her.”
Well done Molly! Molly has been nominated by Sharon for a Naturo Superdog Award in the Survivor Category. The Awards have been created to honour exceptional dogs who have made a significant difference to a person’s life or who have battled horrendous circumstances and yet remained loving and beautiful souls.
Apart from the usual maladies that can affect pedigree dogs there are rare diseases that even your local vet might not know anything about. What to do?
If you’re planning on getting a dog the best way forward is to be prepared. Study everything you can about the breed, understanding what diseases the breed is prone to, all the various aspects if it’s a mixed breed, this will help prepare you for the road ahead.
A rare disease can be very difficult to correctly diagnose and it’s quite possible that your vet might never have treated the rare condition affecting your dog.
Asked for comment,Dr Paul Manktelow of the PDSA said, "As in human medicine some diseases can appear very rarely, and vets, like doctors, may not be very familiar with them. It is really important we share stories such as Molly's and that owners and vets continue to work together to raise awareness of rare and breed specific illnesses".
The development of new treatments in veterinary science can be slow on account of the limited resources available for research into rare diseases so it’s important to support the networks, like the breed clubs, who keep records on every health issue affecting their particular breed.
Molly has been nominated for a Naturo SuperDog Award in the Survivor Category. If you know a remarkable dog, or perhaps an inspiring human working to improve the lives of our furry best friends, show them some love and nominate them now