Get ready to meet the Benjamin Button of dogs as there is one dog who suffers from a rare genetic condition, meaning that he pretty much is forever going to be puppy-sized.
The 2-year-old German Shepherd named Ranger was diagnosed with “pituitary dwarfism” – which is a rare condition that affects German shepherds and other select breeds, such as Saarloos wolfdogs and Karelian bear dogs.
While Ranger was the runt of the litter, making him small, the dog’s owner was very surprised when Ranger just never grew past a certain size.
His owner, Phoenix-based Shelby Mayo, told SWNS, “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.”
Mayo rushed to get Ranger’s illness treated, but he quickly developed another parasite, which was then followed by an infection.
“During this time Ranger remained very small, the vet had suspected that he may have pituitary dwarfism, a genetic mutation,” Mayo said. “But we were still skeptical as this condition is very rare.”
Ranger’s condition further deteriorated further after he was neutered, and as Mayo said, he lost even more weight, began shedding fur, and developed dry, flaky skin – all these symptoms being a sign of pituitary dwarfism in a dog. The vet confirmed the diagnosis, as well as the fact that Ranger also has a slow thyroid – another common symptom of pituitary dwarfism.
But there was some good news. Hypothyroidism, which causes fur loss and decreased appetite in dogs, is easily treatable using medication and special soap.
Hypothyroidism is also realistically the least of Mayo’s worries surrounding Ranger, since he has an array of health issues and is looking at a shortened life expectancy of only 4 to 5 years.
Regardless of the facts, Ranger’s as “healthy and happy as can be as of now,” said Mayo, who also went on to describe Ranger’s love and affection for his dog siblings Hazel and Jessie – even though they’re a bit larger.
If you want to see more of the adorable Ranger, you can go follow his Instagram page.