Abnormally low levels of the parathyroid hormone result in hypoparathyroidism. It may be due to a reduction in the amount of hormone secreted by the gland or because the hormone produced is not functioning properly. The hormone levels have an effect on the levels of the minerals calcium and phosphorous too. Most breeds of dogs may develop this condition, but it is more prevalent in Miniature Schnauzers.
Parathyroid hormone production may be impaired due to a damage caused to the glands or its accidental removal along with the thyroid gland. But parathyroid gland may regenerate from even small portions of the tissue remaining and resume normal functioning.
Restlessness, inability to control the movement of the voluntary muscles, and nervousness, are the typical symptoms of this condition. The dog may become very weak and suffer tremors and convulsions. Hypoparathyroidism for extended periods may result in the hardening of ligaments and cataract. Bone density and volume may become reduced, and the dog may have impairment of mental functions too.
Diagnosis of hypoparathyroidism is based on lab test results besides the typical symptoms of this disorder. The results may indicate low calcium content in the blood while the phosphorus content may be abnormally high. The dog’s response to the prescribed treatment also has a bearing on the diagnosis.
Symptoms such as muscle contraction can be resolved by bringing back the calcium content in the blood to normal levels. Intravenous administration of calcium gluconate is the best way to elevate the calcium levels. If the hormone production by the parathyroid glands is affected, supplementation of calcium may be necessary for an extended period of time. A calcium-rich diet with low phosphorous content along with Vitamin D3 supplementation may provide sufficient calcium to the body. The veterinarian may recommend additional calcium supplementation if necessary.