Pituitary Dwarfism or Hyposomatotrophism

In Pituitary dwarfism / hyposomatotrophism a deficiency in pituitary stimulation of growth hormone production leads to dwarfism. This occurs most commonly in German shepherds but has been reported in several other breeds. It is an inherited disease in German shepherds (autosomal recessive trait). This disorder must be distinguished from other conditions leading to stunted growth, including malnutrition, congenital hypothyroidism and other congenital defects leading to poor growth. Dogs with this condition do not grow like their litter mates. Their hair retains its "puppy" appearance, feeling soft to the touch. Hairloss along the sides that is symmetrical often occurs. Abnormalities in bone growth lead to a deformed appearance to the legs. As other puppies in the litter appear to mature, affected dogs continue to have a puppy-like appearance and bark. Dogs with this condition may be deficient in other hormones in which the pituitary gland controls part of the process of stimulating the hormone's production. It is a good idea to check for hypothyroidism and hypoadrenocorticism in dogs with hyposomatotrophism. Human growth hormone will work to treat affected dogs but it is expensive and may be hard for the average veterinary practitioner to obtain.