This is a hormone condition.

Pituitary Dwarfism

What is Pituitary Dwarfism?

This variant in the POU1F1 gene causes proportionately small stature and coat abnormalities. Affected dogs are typically hypothyroid as well.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

Affected dogs will have a proportionately small stature and coat abnormalities including a puppy-like (lanugo) coat that lacks most primary or guard hairs. The skin may appear thin and dark (hyperpigmented) with signs of inflammation. Dogs may experience gradual hair loss and delayed or absent tooth development. There may also be reproductive abnormalities.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Clinical signs may be visible as early as a few weeks of life, but coat abnormalities and small size may not be clear until puppies are older. Affected dogs may need to be intensively nursed and hand-reared, which may lead to hypopituitarism being undiagnosed and labeled as “failure to thrive.”

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Clinical history, genetic testing, and laboratory testing can be used in conjunction to diagnose Pituitary Dwarfism. Because this form of Pituitary Dwarfism is the result of combined pituitary hormone deficiency, in most affected dogs there is also secondary hypothyroidism.

How is this condition treated?

One or more hormones may require supplementation as prescribed by your veterinarian.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Thyroid hormone replacement should be started as soon as there is evidence of secondary hypothyroidism. Follow your vet's advice regarding dosing and blood level monitoring.
  • Treatment often does not result in a significant increase in body size, because the growth plates in most dwarfs have already closed or are about to close at the time growth hormone treatment is initiated — thus, genetic testing might lead to earlier intervention and a better outcome.
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