Acral Mutilation and Feet Analgesia


The French Spaniel is one of the few breeds affected by a rare hereditary disease called “acral mutilation and feet analgesia” or “hereditary sensory neuropathy.”  This problem, initially reported in the German Shorthaired Pointer, the English Pointer and English Springer Spaniel was recently found in the French Spaniel.


The first symptoms appear between the ages of 3.5 and 12 months and consist of intense licking, biting and the mutilation of the feet, usually accompanied by ulcerated sores and infections of one or more legs. Some dogs will even self-amputate claws, pads or toes. Affected dogs walk on their severely mutilated feet without any evidence of pain or lameness.

This disease is hereditary and it seems that the mode of transmission is autosomal recessive, that is to say that to become ill, the dog must receive two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent. Parents have no symptoms because they carry only one copy of the defective gene and one normal copy protects them from disease. Fortunately less than 1% of French spaniels suffer from this disease.

A research project is underway to identify the abnormal gene and develop a genetic test. Feel free to contact Dr. Paradise if you know a dog with such symptoms. The researchers need DNA from affected French Spaniels. You can reach her by e-mail or post:



Manon Paradis, DMV, MScV, Dip ACVD

Veterinary Dermatologist

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire

Facult of Veterinary Medicine

University of Montreal

PO Box 5000, St-Hyacinthe

Quebec, Canada 12S 7C6



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