Pituitary Dwarfism

What is dwarfism:
Dwarfism is a terrible, incurable disease that no dog should wish for. The dwarf has an underdeveloped pituitary gland, which means that some hormones (such as growth hormones) are not produced. Due to insufficient production of growth hormone (pGH), they have poor thyroid function. In addition to staying small, these dogs are also prone to various equally dire side effects (such as baldness, itching, inflammation, impaired liver and kidney function, delayed behavior), in the absence of daily medication.
Saarloss Wolfhund litter with one dwarf puppy

Recognition and existence of dwarfism in the breed:

Dwarfism is not always recognized by the breeder !!!
Many dwarfs die in the womb or during childbirth.
More than 90% of living dwarfs die in the first week of life.
Puppies remain in growth and dwarfism is often invisible. After that, people notice that the puppy is different from the others (at 4 weeks old or later). Dwarfism is known to occur in the German Shepherd Dog, Karelian Bear Dog, Saarloss Wolfhund, and Czechoslovakian Wolfdog breeds.

Unfortunately, there are several known cases of dwarfism (from some lineages) and among the SSV.

With 1% of dwarfs in the population, 18% carry the dwarf gene!
In practice, the number of carriers can be much larger!
Litter CSV with 2 dwarfs

University of Utrecht has started testing Czechoslovakian wolfdogs for dwarfism

Possible to test wolfdogs!

No one needs more dwarfs to be born!

Based on this test, it can be determined whether the dog is a carrier of the mutated gene!

The carrier dog should not be excluded from breeding!
Only carrier + carrier mating is excluded!

It is necessary to test as many wolfdogs as possible to establish how common dwarfism is in the breed.
In order to prevent the birth of another dwarf, it is required to test all wolf dogs that are used in breeding!

Dwarf Puppy, Saarloss Wolfhund

How an Owner Can Test Their Dog for Dwarfism:

Since not all veterinarians know about this test, it would be helpful if they read the article by Dr. H. Kooistra and Dr. A. Voorbij: Pituitary Dwarfism in the German Shepherd and Saarloos wolfhund – Genetic test possibility – i

Blood test form can be downloaded here   in .pdf format **.

** .pdf files are opened with Acrobat Reader. You can download this program for free here

  • Owner can fill in information about himself and the dog: “Blood DNA research Pituitary Dwarfism” and sign the form
  • After that, the owner must go to the vet with their wolfdog, a completed form and a copy of the pedigree.
  • The veterinarian should check the dog’s chip and complete and validate the form.
  • The veterinarian should then draw 4 ml of EDTA blood.

A blood sample (collected in an EDTA-containing tube) should be sent, along with a completed form and a copy of the pedigree, to:

Dr. HS Kooistra
Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
Yalelaan 108
3584 CM Utrecht
The Netherlands

ChSV puppy – dwarf

  • After the test, the university will send the invoice to the owner
  • The cost of the test is 100 euros (does not include taxes).
  • The university will send the test results after receipt of payment
  • If the dog is free (not a carrier) from dwarfism, the university also sends a certificate.

The Saarloss Wolfhund dwarf at 4 months and the German Shepherd dwarf at 2

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If a dwarf was born

Pituitary dwarfism (dwarfism, dwarfism) exists in the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog breed, several cases of dwarf birth are known in different countries from different lines.

No problem, if the dog carries the mutated gene, the dog will not get sick.
Also, there will be no problems with breeding such a dog, if the partner is not a carrier
of the gene.But as long as only a small part of the FSW has been tested, dwarfs will continue to be born!

Therefore, we provide information for owners and breeders of dwarfs.

In the event of a midget birth, the owner / breeder can proceed as follows:

  • Leave him without treatment
  • Leave it with yourself and treat (you need to find a university or a specialized veterinarian who can calculate the doses of hormones and who has the ability to use thyroxine and growth hormone (p GH))
  • Put a dwarf to sleep in his own country when he starts to hurt and suffer
  • Put a dwarf to sleep in Holland (the university asked for this possibility too)
  • Return the dwarf to the Dutch Dwarfism Foundation, where he will receive the necessary treatment

On the treatment of the dwarf:
Any defect in the development of the pituitary gland causes a lack of hormone production. And most dogs with pituitary dwarfism are deficient in the following hormones: growth hormone, thyrotropin, prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone.
For this reason, affected dogs should receive a combination of growth hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Since canine growth hormone is not available for medical use, there is no way to treat a dwarf with it.
An alternative treatment is pig growth hormone, which is identical to canine growth hormone.
We do not know if it is available in other countries.

About untreated
dwarfs : Some dwarfs live up to 4-5 years without treatment. This difference is purely individual.
Because some dwarfs do produce some of their own growth hormone!
The prognosis depends on how developed their kidneys are.
Because the lifespan depends on the degree of development of renal failure.
The Dutch University knows a case when a dwarf lived to be 10 years old – his kidneys functioned due to his own growth hormone produced by him. His only problem was oily and inflamed skin.
No one can predict how old a particular dwarf will live.

About treatment:

Research from the University of Holland has shown good results from using a combination of thyroid-stimulating hormone and pig growth hormone.
The introduction of growth hormone in the first year of life stimulates the normal development of the kidneys of the dwarf.

It was found that the introduction of growth hormone after the first year of life is ineffective and does not affect the development of the kidneys. And when the kidneys do not develop correctly (and do not grow) in the first year, further drug treatment is useless (insufficient kidney development causes many problems in dwarfs). Therefore, the University of Holland treats only very young dwarfs with the method of injecting growth hormone (pGH) in combination with thyroid-stimulating hormone.

About the research:
The University of Holland is still researching the treatment and development of dwarfs. At the moment, some breeds of dwarfs are being treated.
But for research, the pituitary glands of dwarfs are required, for further research of the disease process and establishing what exactly happens to the pituitary gland.
These studies of the pituitary gland can be of immense help to dwarfs (including humans) in the future.
Therefore, we ask for the help of all dwarf owners in this study.
If your dwarf is seriously ill and you have to come to a difficult decision to put him to sleep, please contact us!
Perhaps euthanasia at the University of Holland (and then your dwarf will be able to help others).

About shelter and treatment in Holland
Last month the Dutch Dwarf foundation “Saartje” was established. Such organizations will give dissemination of information about dwarfism in dog breeds and testing opportunities.
In addition, they also offer the dwarfs a new home and treatment.
Any owner can donate the dwarf to the foundation without compensation. In this case, the foundation will become the new owner of the dwarf and will treat him at its own expense.