There is more than one cause for this disorder, but the most common forms are identified as either Primary and idiopathic..  It is important to seek veterinary assistance in getting correct diagnosis and treatment. If left untreated, this can become a life threatening problem.

"Sadie"C-Myste Heart and SoulLost at 14 months to hyperparathyroidism, never forgotten.

C-Myste Heart and Soul
Lost at 14 months to hyperparathyroidism, never forgotten.

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Symptoms: Weight loss, behavioral changes, anorexia, tetany, muscle weakness or spasms, seizures.  Hypocalcemia may be detected in a veterinary serum chemistry profile. Very young puppies with this disorder may exhibit slow or abnormal growth, particularly in the spine and hips.  They may also exhibit weakness, lameness and/or difficulty walking.

Treatment Options: Surgical excision of the parathyroid or in some cases ethanol injection of a parathyroid tumor and veterinary prescribed medication to manage symptoms.. Prognosis is good with proper treatment.

Known Mode of Inheritance: Unknown in Cardigans. Primary Hyperparathyroidism is an Autosomal Dominant with age dependant penetrance in Keeshonden, meaning phenotypically normal individuals who test ‘At Risk’ may not exhibit symptoms until later in life.

Age of onset: As early as <4 wks, but typically age 10 years or older.

Breeds affected

  • Cardigan: yes
  • Pembroke: unknown
  • Other Breeds: yes, Keeshonden (primary), several other breeds (primary or idiopathic)

Incidence in Cardigans: Unknown.


  • Cardigans: no
  • Other breeds: yes, Keeshonden
  • Active?: no

Registry: yes through the OFA, but currently for Keeshonden only.

Tests Available: yes, but currently for Keeshonden only.
Published papers and Articles:

Discussion Groups:

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