Disorder - Pituitary dwarfism

Organ Systems Involved

Alternative Names
Dwarfism, pituitary

Brief Description
    Pituitary dwarfism is caused by the reduced production of growth hormone, causing the animal to stop growing, and to maintain puppy characteristics.

Presenting Signs
    Pituitary dwarves exhibit overall signs of stunted growth. The signs are not apparent for the first two to six weeks of life, but after this the owner starts to notice that the affected puppy is smaller than its littermates. The animal will retain its puppy fur, with no development of adult hairs. Loss of hair will occur, mainly on the trunk, thighs and tail, on both sides of the body. The skin will be thin, inelastic and scaly, and excessive pigmentation will slowly appear. The growth plates of bones will take longer to close (closure normally occurring as the bones mature), and permanent teeth will also take longer to erupt. The reproductive organs of affected animals are smaller and fail to develop completely. Female dogs will lack oestrus cycles and are therefore infertile. The dog may retain a higher pitched, 'puppy-like' bark. Overall, the dog will retain the appearance of a young puppy. Affected dogs have a shortened life expectancy.

Dogs at Risk
    Young dogs

Groups Affected
Working dog

Breeds Affected
German shepherd dog


Related Disorders
    Growth Hormone-responsive Dermatoses

PubMed References
Pituitary dwarfism

Further Reference Material [OMIA Number]

Michelle Trebeck