Hypoparathyroidism refers to low levels of parathyroid hormones (PTH) in the blood. This rare condition in dogs often leads to hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium in blood) and hyperphosphataemia (excessive levels of phosphorus in the blood). Hypoparathyroidism may be a primary disease or secondary to other systemic disease(s).
Parathyroid hormones (PTH) are secreted by parathyroid glands, two pairs of small glands which are located very close to thyroid gland in the neck. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is responsible for maintaining the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, normally increasing blood calcium levels by causing calcium to be reabsorbed from the bone. Low levels of parathyroid hormone secretion will therefore lead to low levels of calcium in the blood, a condition called hypocalcemia.
Certain breeds are predisposed to this condition which include toy poodles, miniature schnauzers, German shepherd dogs, Labrador retrievers, and terrier breeds. Also, females are affected in higher numbers than male dogs. The mean age of diagnosis is 4.8 years but the disease is reported in dogs from 6 weeks to 13 years.
Common symptoms for this condition include
Wobbly, incoordinated, or drunken appearing movement (ataxia)
Muscle trembling, twitching, or involuntary contractions of muscles
Increased urination and increased thirst
Lack of appetite