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Kitzmann, Stefanie; Hartmann, Katrin; Zablotski, Yury; Rieger, Anna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6826-4497; Müller, Ralf and Wehner, Astrid ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2279-3609 (2021): Wellbeing, quality of life, presence of concurrent diseases, and survival times in untreated and treated German Shepherd dogs with dwarfism.
In: PLOS One 16(8), e0255678 [PDF, 1MB]


Background Pituitary dwarfism (PD) in German Shepherd dogs (GSD) is a rare endocrinopathy. Cause and inheritance of the disease are well characterized, but the overall survival time, presence of concurrent diseases, quality of life (QoL) and influence of different treatment options on those parameters is still not well investigated. The aim of this study was to obtain data regarding the disease pattern of GSD with PD and to investigate the impact of treatment. Methods 47 dogs with dwarfism (presumably PD) and 94 unaffected GSD serving as controls were enrolled. Data were collected via a standardized questionnaire, which every owner of a participating dog had completed. Dogs with PD were grouped based on three categories of treatment: Group 1 (untreated), group 2 (treated with levothyroxine), group 3 (treated with thyroxine and progestogens or with growth hormone (GH)). Groups were compared using One-Way-Anova, Kruskal-Wallis test or Wilcoxon-rank-sum test. Categorical analysis was performed using Two-Sample-Chi-Squared-test. Results Dogs treated with thyroxine and gestagen or GH were significantly taller and heavier compared to all other dogs with PD. Quality of life was best in dogs with PD treated with thyroxine and similar to unaffected GSD. Treatment increased survival time in dogs with PD independent of the treatment strategy. Dogs receiving thyroxine and progestogens or GH did not develop chronic kidney disease (CKD). Conclusion GSD with PD should be treated at least for their secondary hypothyroidism to increase survival time. Additional treatment with progestogens or GH improves body size and seems to protect against the occurrence of CKD.

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