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Dogs with Dwarfism

dogs with dwarfism


Dwarfism in dogs is a hereditary and genetic condition that can affect many breeds. Dogs with dwarfism can exhibit many different signs, including a longer body than normal, bowed front legs and bulging eyes. The good news is that it is usually very easy for your vet to diagnose the condition and discuss possible solutions with you. While dogs with dwarfism cannot usually be fully cured of the condition, there are many ways your vet can ensure they live with this condition without suffering pain or discomfort.

What is Dwarfism in Dogs?

Dwarfism in dogs, also known as pituitary dwarfism, is an autosomal disorder that is common in the following breeds of dogs:

It can be inherited but it can also be caused by other conditions such as infections, tumors or cysts. Dogs with dwarfism will experience several side effects that are usually noticed in the first few months of a dog’s life. The good news is that treatment can help to increase the lifespan of your pet and ensure he has a better quality of life.

Symptoms of Dwarfism in Dogs

Dogs with dwarfism will experience slower growth than normal. They will also experience a range of other symptoms and these will depend on the breed of dog and the type of dwarfism they have.

These symptoms can include:

  • Shorter legs than normal
  • Longer body than normal
  • Bulging eyes
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Tongue sticking out of the mouth
  • High-pitched bark
  • Underbite and short jaw
  • Head larger than normal
  • Feet turn outward
  • Bowed front legs
  • Slow growth rate
  • Teeth slow to develop
  • Panting more than usual
  • May seem mentally slower than other pups in the litter
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hair loss

Dogs with Dwarfism – How the Condition is Diagnosed

Even though it may be obvious by looking at your dog that there is a problem, your vet will carry out a thorough examination of your dog. This will not only help to determine whether dwarfism is the issue but will also help them to identify the type of dwarfism. The examination will involve a full physical assessment, including weight and height measurements, palpation around the body to feel for any lumps or unusual growth, temperature, pulse, and respiration. Your vet will also order an endocrine test to determine whether growth hormones are lower than normal. Full blood work will also be carried out to rule out any underlying diseases or illnesses that could be causing similar symptoms to dwarfish.

Treatment For Dogs with Dwarfism

The treatment your dog receives for dwarfism will depend largely on the nature of the condition. However, most treatment plans involve replenishment of the growth hormones that your dog is lacking.

At the time of writing, there is no growth hormone treatment that is specific to dogs but there are several other options, including:

Porcine (Pig) Growth Hormone

Porcine (pig) growth hormones can be very expensive and don’t always get the best results. And if they are successful, they can often cause side effects such as allergic reactions, diabetes, and Mellitus.

Thyroid Hormones

Synthetic thyroid hormones have had some success in treating dogs with dwarfism, but the administering of these medications must be monitored closely by your vet and adjusted accordingly.


If a tumor or cyst is impacting the production of growth hormones, surgery may be performed to remove it. This can only be done safely if the tumor or cyst is not too close to the thyroid gland or other organs. Your vet will order X-rays, an MRI and CT scan to determine whether to operate or not.

Ensure Your Pet Always Gets the Best Treatment

Dogs with dwarfism require some very special care to get the best possible outcome. The cost for these treatments can easily reach thousands of dollars. By taking out a pet insurance plan with, you can ensure you get the best possible treatment for your dog without worrying about the cost of initial or future treatment. Don’t let vet bills stand in the way of your dog living their best life. Take a look at the pet insurance plans available and get peace-of-mind cover for you and your pet today.

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