Some people just never grow up. No matter how old they get, their mind stays young. And many, of course, do whatever they can to turn back the hands of time to keep their body and, particularly, their face, as youthful as possible. That usually takes a lot of work. For some, however, that youthful look just comes natural. Oddly enough, there’s an animal out there that no matter how old it gets, it’s going to look very young.
That animal is a dog. And that dog is a German Shepherd. And that German Shepherd is Ranger, a 2-year-old purebred AKC from Phoenix, Arizona, that was born with “pituitary dwarfism.” And he barely looks like he’s more than a puppy.
Ranger’s condition – a rare one at that – was diagnosed after he contracted the Giardia parasite. Once he recovered from that infection, his owners noticed that his growth was being stunted. He was just not growing like a normal German Shepherd should. So they took him to a veterinarian who discovered the pituitary dwarfism mutation. Aside from remaining incredibly small for his age, Ranger has had to deal with some nasty side effects. His fur was shedding and his skin became very flaky. But because Ranger has a huge number of followers on social media, his owners were given plenty of recommendations on how to deal with those problems.
Soon after taking some of the advice, Ranger was in full recovery. Other than his size and dealing with those side effects, Rangers seems to be a normal, happy dog that loves to play. And, of course, he’s the star of his own Instagram page. He even has a signature head tilt that his adoring fans just can’t get enough of, and he has been filmed plenty of times playing with his “sisters,” which are Hazel the Labrador and Jessie, another German Shepherd. Shelby Mayo is Ranger’s guardian.
Says Shelby: “When we originally got Ranger from the breeder, he was smaller than all his other litter-mates, 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. At the same time, we also discovered that Ranger had a large infection on his neck. We were eventually able to get the infection under control, fast forward a few months later we were finally able to get rid of Giardia.
During this time Ranger remained very small, the vet had suspected that he may have Pituitary Dwarfism, a genetic mutation. But we were still skeptical as this condition is very rare. Over time Ranger still did not get much bigger, and at this point we are certain he does have this condition. After a few more months we got him neutered and that’s when we started to see big changes. He lost his appetite, started to lose weight, lost almost all of his fur, and had extremely dry and flaky skin. Many people on our Instagram page warned us that Pituitary Dwarfs can have many medical issues, but up until that point we hadn’t experienced any.
One of our followers, “Guardians Farm,” are a small company that makes handmade soaps, lotions, etc and they sent us goat milk soap, which ended up helping Rangers skin immensely. At the same time another one of our followers who also has a Dwarf German Shepard told us to get his thyroid levels checked as many dwarfs suffer from hypothyroidism. So our vet checked his thyroid levels and sure enough he was low, this can cause hair loss and a loss of appetite. After getting Ranger on Levothyroxine and using this soap his fur grew back and the dryness went away.”
But Shelby can say that now Ranger is as happy as ever. And that’s just the way it should be.
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