Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs

Overview of Canine Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a disorder resulting from excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH) by one or more of the parathyroid glands located in the neck. The excessive amounts of PTH cause an elevated calcium level in the bloodstream, and this can have harmful effects on the body and can make dogs ill.

The most common cause of primary hyperparathyroidism is a single benign tumor, called an adenoma, on one of the parathyroid glands. Malignant tumors of the parathyroid gland are much less common.

Primary hyperparathyroidism is much more frequently diagnosed in dogs as compared to cats. Older dogs are more commonly affected (average age is 10 years). Males and females are equally affected. Keeshonds have a higher incidence than other breeds. A genetic marker associated with primary hyperparathyroidism has been found in the Keeshond.

Veterinarians can submit tests to determine the likelihood of disease in individual Keeshound dogs. The goal is for breeders to use test results to make breeding decisions and to eventually eliminate the disease from the breed. Test inquires can be submitted through the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center. For more information, visit the lab’s Web site at www.vet.cornell.edu/faculty/Goldstein.

At first, the mildly elevated calcium levels don’t cause any symptoms. As time progresses and the calcium levels continue to rise, clinical symptoms appear. Three main body systems are usually affected: the gastrointestinal system, the kidneys, and the nervous system.

What to Watch For

Common symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs

Treatment of Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs

Treatments for primary hyperparathyroidism may include the following:

Home Care and Prevention

Give medications as directed. If the abnormal parathyroid gland was surgically removed, dogs will occasionally develop signs of LOW calcium 1 to 7 days post-operatively. Carefully monitor your pet at home for signs of low calcium, including panting, nervousness, muscle twitching, leg cramping, stiff gait and seizures.

There is no known cause for primary hyperparathyroidism, therefore, there is no preventative care.

In-depth Information on Hyperparathyroidism in Dogs

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a glandular disorder in which excessive secretion of a hormone called PTH (parathyroid hormone) by one of the parathyroid glands located in the neck causes the calcium levels in the bloodstream to rise. The defect in the parathyroid gland is usually due to a solitary benign tumor in one of the glands. Occasionally, a malignant tumor of one of the parathyroid glands is responsible. Mild elevations of calcium usually cause no clinical symptoms; however, as calcium levels continue to rise, signs of illness develop.

Three body systems are most commonly affected: the gastrointestinal system, the kidneys, and the nervous system. There are many other disorders that can cause elevation in calcium levels. The diagnostic tests recommended will help differentiate hyperparathyroidism from the following:

Diagnosis In-depth

The following tests are commonly recommend to diagnose dogs with hyperparathyroidism:

Treatment In-depth

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Hyperparathyroidism

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.