• Open Access

Congenital Hypothyroid Dwarfism in a Family of Giant Schnauzers



Congenital hypothyroid dwarfism was diagnosed in a family of Giant Schnauzers. Three female and two male puppies from different litters were evaluated for dwarfism, lethargy, somnolence, gait abnormalities, and constipation. On physical examination, disproportionate dwarfism (n = 5), macroglossia (n = 3), hypothermia (n = 3), delayed dental eruption (n = 3), ataxia (n = 2), and abdominal distension (n = 1) were identified. Results of initial laboratory tests showed anemia (n = 4), hypercholesterolemia (n = 4), hypercalcemia (n = 2), and transudative abdominal effusion (n = 1). Radiographic skeletal surveys disclosed epiphyseal dysgenesis and delayed skeletal maturation (n = 5). A diagnosis of hypothyroidism was established on the basis of low basal serum thyroxine concentrations that failed to increase following the administration of TSH (n = 5) and markedly reduced to absent thyroid image when evaluated with gamma camera imaging of the thyroid gland (n = 4). In the two dogs that were most thoroughly evaluated, the results of thyroid histology, prolonged TSH testing, and repeat thyroid imaging, after three daily injections of TSH, were all consistent with secondary or tertiary, rather than primary, hypothyroidism. When TSH was administered over a period of 3 consecutive days (5 IU/day, subcuta-neously), serum thyroid hormone response became normal and resulted in a normal thyroid image in the two dogs re-evaluated with gamma camera imaging. Daily treatment with oral levothyroxine (20 ug/kg) resulted in complete remission in puppies (n = 4) treated prior to 4 months of age. The other puppy failed to attain normal breed standards for height. Pedigree analysis suggests an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance for the development of congenital hypothyroidism in this family of Giant Schnauzers.