Potential Dwarfism - Congenital Heart Disease - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Potential Dwarfism - Congenital Heart Disease

I have been in touch with my puppies littermate's owner. They were born on May 2nd and are about 5.5 months old now.

I was told when I picked up my puppy I was told that her sister had a heart murmur. Later at the puppies' new family, they learned that she had a heart murmur still at roughly 4 months old. This week Diamond's owner took her to see a specialist to have an electrocardiogram done. The results were not good. She was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect, right to left PDA, severe LV dialation, mild mitral valve dysplasia, persistent left cranial vena cava, pulmonary hypertension, and ventricular arrhythmias.

She has a current weight of 27.6 pounds. In comparison, her sister who is my pup is 42~ lbs.

My pup has grown a significant amount of adult fur; whereas, her sister shows nothing but puppy fluff.

So my puppies littermate has sever congenital heart defects, is very undersized, has grown none of her adult coat, shows low levels of stamina, and has trouble with a urinary track infection.

My heart goes out to my puppies sister. Has anyone ever had experience with identifying dwarfism? Her outlook is extremely poor. I feel that if she does have dwarfism then the breeder needs to know about it.

Thanks in advance for any information. I know that this is not my puppy, but I feel invested in her wellbeing regardless. I want to help support her owner if I can.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 07:33 PM
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i think they can test for that
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 07:43 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your puppy's littermate. That must be heartbreaking for her family. I would probably let the breeder know about the heart defects right away and if anything else is discovered let them know about that also.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 08:02 PM
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Here's some information. The second article shows what to possibly expect as the dog ages.


What to do if you have a dwarf - German Shepherd Pituitary Dwarfism


https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/e...-with-dwarfism
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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i think they can test for that
They can test for it. I spoke with her owner to see if she had considered the possibility, but she wasn't interested since it wouldn't change her current prognosis. She is heart broken at the moment, and doesn't want to worry about anything else.

I've ordered a test for my pup through Orivet. That way if she doesn't want to test, as I expect that she doesn't, then the information can still be figured out. If my pup is a carrier, I'd bet with her sister's symptoms that she does in fact have dwarfism.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Here's some information. The second article shows what to possibly expect as the dog ages.


What to do if you have a dwarf - German Shepherd Pituitary Dwarfism


https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/e...-with-dwarfism
The article from about Tiger was posted to reddit a few times, which is why I know about the possibility in the breed to begin with.
The other article I read through earlier today. It helped solidify the idea in my mind that there is a strong correlation between the symptoms of the puppy and dwarfism.

The article I read today that lead me to asking for people's experiences on the matter is the one below:
GSD Pituitary Dwarfism - German Shepherd Pituitary Dwarfism
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry to hear about your puppy's littermate. That must be heartbreaking for her family. I would probably let the breeder know about the heart defects right away and if anything else is discovered let them know about that also.
Her owner is devastated and heart broken. I feel so sad for her and the poor pup!

The breeder does know. The puppies owner and the breeder have been in contact. They are currently not on good terms.

The reason why I took the initiative to ask some questions is because I felt that the possibility of dwarfism was not considered by either of them. I know what the father of our puppies has sired many puppies, and I currently expect that likely hood that he is a carrier is very high. Since I do not believe that my puppies littermate's owner will test her for dwarfism, I figured that if I did my puppy then I could prove that if she is a carrier that that information should be taken into consideration when considering him for future stud work.

Another point to consider is that their mother has had three litters with the same sire, and all of which I believe had 5 puppies. With dwarfism from my understanding, most puppies are miscarried before birth or fall to 'fading puppy syndrome'. While that many puppies is considered rather normal it is still below average, which could indicate that when the ressive genes match up there are less puppies.

I ordered a dwarfism test for my puppy through orivet today. I won't have results for quite some time though.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JRadtke View Post
Her owner is devastated and heart broken. I feel so sad for her and the poor pup!

The breeder does know. The puppies owner and the breeder have been in contact. They are currently not on good terms.

The reason why I took the initiative to ask some questions is because I felt that the possibility of dwarfism was not considered by either of them. I know what the father of our puppies has sired many puppies, and I currently expect that likely hood that he is a carrier is very high. Since I do not believe that my puppies littermate's owner will test her for dwarfism, I figured that if I did my puppy then I could prove that if she is a carrier that that information should be taken into consideration when considering him for future stud work.

Another point to consider is that their mother has had three litters with the same sire, and all of which I believe had 5 puppies. With dwarfism from my understanding, most puppies are miscarried before birth or fall to 'fading puppy syndrome'. While that many puppies is considered rather normal it is still below average, which could indicate that when the ressive genes match up there are less puppies.

I ordered a dwarfism test for my puppy through orivet today. I won't have results for quite some time though.
Regularly having 5 puppies per litter wouldn't surprise me. Plenty of dogs especially purebreds start having smaller litter sizes.

Keep in mind if the puppy has congenital heart defects then that could very well be why it is so small and isn't thriving. As a vet once told me puppies with one congenital defect often have others. Severe issues like that can cause failure to thrive.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Regularly having 5 puppies per litter wouldn't surprise me. Plenty of dogs especially purebreds start having smaller litter sizes.

Keep in mind if the puppy has congenital heart defects then that could very well be why it is so small and isn't thriving. As a vet once told me puppies with one congenital defect often have others. Severe issues like that can cause failure to thrive.
I could very well be overthinking things. What you've said also makes a lot of sense to me. I just started from looking at the small size causing the heart defects, rather than the defects causing the small size as you've suggested. What has me leaning toward dwarfism is the puppy fluff and my personal comparison by owning the dog in question's littermate.

For reference their mom has had three litters at ages 3, 4, and 5 to my knowledge. I don't think that 5 puppies in each litter is too abnormal, just slightly below what I understand to be average at 8. If it was a perfect world where statistics where the truth, then if there is a 25% lose in litter size for each litter where each parent carries dwarfism. In theory if the average is 8 puppies each litter there should be 24 puppies across 3 litters. If fifteen puppies were born, then that is 9 puppies below average then that is a theoretical lose of 37.5%. If the theoretical statistical lose is 25% compared to 37% below average, it is statistically with in the realm of possibility that a below average litter size in this scenario is due to dwarfism related miscarriage. However, obviously there are a million factors that come into play here and the only way to prove anything is a DNA test, which is the route I've personally chosen.

I just have a bit of circumstantial evidence and I'm not a veterinarian. I just can't help myself, and feel the need to get to the bottom of it, so while I wait for DNA results I have turned to the internet for insight!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JRadtke View Post
I could very well be overthinking things. What you've said also makes a lot of sense to me. I just started from looking at the small size causing the heart defects, rather than the defects causing the small size as you've suggested. What has me leaning toward dwarfism is the puppy fluff and my personal comparison by owning the dog in question's littermate.

For reference their mom has had three litters at ages 3, 4, and 5 to my knowledge. I don't think that 5 puppies in each litter is too abnormal, just slightly below what I understand to be average at 8. If it was a perfect world where statistics where the truth, then if there is a 25% lose in litter size for each litter where each parent carries dwarfism. In theory if the average is 8 puppies each litter there should be 24 puppies across 3 litters. If fifteen puppies were born, then that is 9 puppies below average then that is a theoretical lose of 37.5%. If the theoretical statistical lose is 25% compared to 37% below average, it is statistically with in the realm of possibility that a below average litter size in this scenario is due to dwarfism related miscarriage. However, obviously there are a million factors that come into play here and the only way to prove anything is a DNA test, which is the route I've personally chosen.

I just have a bit of circumstantial evidence and I'm not a veterinarian. I just can't help myself, and feel the need to get to the bottom of it, so while I wait for DNA results I have turned to the internet for insight!
Well another thing to think of is that the average is 8, that means you must have litters below and above to have 8 as an average. 5-6 isn't an abnormal number at all. Also keep in mind that you'd think there would be other puppies actually showing dwarfism not just miscarried puppies. Although you are very correct in assuming that smaller litter sizes can be seen in homozygous lethal disorders. It's how they've figured out some dog colors are homozygous lethal such as harlequin in Great Danes. So it's as logical a theory as the dog just has smaller litters.

It will certainly be interesting to see the results of the test though!

Another thing when inbreeding/linebreeding/backmassing what you want to call it. Loss of genetic diversity does have some negative effects, one of the first things to happen is lower reproductive traits such as smaller litters. That's why purebred animals can tend towards lower litter sizes. The loss of diversity accompanied by breeding purebred animals can reduce reproductive traits.

The smaller size and fluff could both be contributed to health issues besides dwarfisms. There are so many disorders that can cause the exact same symptoms or very close of various disorders. For example certain nutrient deficiencies can stunt animal growth. Today in nutrition class as an example there were two chicks the same age, one with a deficieny and the other without. The one without looks like a normal several months/week old chick. The other looks like more like a several day old chick, slightly different feathering and everything.

There's so much out there it's amazing any health issues get figured out.
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