Skin: canine leproid granuloma syndrome

Canine leprosy; CLGS

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  • It is the most common mycobacterial disease of dogs in Australia.
  • Canine leproid granuloma syndrome (CLGS), or canine leprosy, was first described in a Boxer and a Bullmastiff from Zimbabwe in 1973. Reports of similar disease appeared in Australia soon afterwards.
  • Cause : fastidious mycobacterial species probably transmitted by biting insects.
  • Signs : single or multiple skin nodules commonly affecting head and ears.
  • Diagnosis : cytology or histological examination with special staining.
  • Treatment : observation; antimicrobials; surgical excision.
  • Prognosis : good in uncomplicated cases, self cure, surgical cure.


Clinical signs

  • The classical distribution of multiple lesions, particularly in an at-risk breed, is strongly suggestive of CLGS.
  • The nodules are hard, painless, and vary in size from 2 mm up to 5 cm in diameter.
  • Lesions can appear anywhere on the dog, although are usually on the head and typically on the dorsal ear fold.
  • Small nodules are detected as hard subcutaneous lumps.
  • Larger nodules may show superficial hair loss and very large lesions may ulcerate.
  • Multiple lesions may be disfiguring and cause irritation if secondarily infected with Staphylococcus intermedius.

Differential diagnosis

  • Other inflammatory or neoplastic causes of cutaneous nodules.
  • Other mycobacterial species causing skin disease in dogs.



  • Many cases are self-limiting and in these the nodular skin lesions regress spontaneously, typically within 1-3 months.
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