An adorable four-year-old German shepherd named Ranger has become an internet celebrity because people have a hard time believing that he is four years old. Why? Well, Ranger has pituitary dwarfism that impacts the canine’s growth. This means he will look like a puppy forever.
What is Pituitary dwarfism?
Pituitary dwarfism, also known as Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) or dwarfism, is a rare condition caused by insufficient amounts of growth hormone in the body. Those who are diagnosed with the condition have abnormally short stature with normal body proportions.
It occurs in animals as well as humans as many species around the world have always shown signs of dwarfism from an early age.
It is prevalent in breeds of dogs like German Shepherd and Corgis. Both parents of the dog must have the carriers of the gene for a puppy to have the genetic condition.
In Ranger’s case, the condition exists due to inbreeding, his owner, Shelby Mayo, said. Due to this, he will only grow one-third the size of a regular German Shepherd.
Unfortunately, this rare condition also impacts the canine’s life expectancy and can cause long-term health issues.
Ranger has more than 1.38 lakh followers on Instagram.
Mayo wants to ensure that other dogs do not suffer from the same condition.
“Ranger is very cute and he’s a great dog, but ultimately this is the result of inbreeding and we want to stop that. Breeders need to be aware that this can occur and they need to try and prevent it,” she said.
“Ranger has had a good life so far but that’s not the case for all,” she added.
Ranger was not born with the condition. He was diagnosed after he contracted a parasite called ‘Giardia’. Although his owners quickly treated him for contracting the parasite, he stopped growing at the same rate as other German Shepherd dogs.
“When we originally got Ranger from the breeder, he was smaller than all his other littermates, but we figured that was because he had a parasite called Coccidia. In the weeks following we took him home and he was parasite free but later on ended up getting a parasite called Giardia,” said Mayo.
For more from trending, click here.