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Home » Dog Diseases » Achondroplasia

Canine Achondroplasia

Achondroplasia is variously referred by orthopedic specialists as asachondroplastic dwarfism, chondrodystrophia fetalis, chondrodystrophy syndrome, congenital osteosclerosis, dwarf, and osteosclerosis congenita. These various definitions mean the same abnormal development of bone from cartilage.1 Offspring can look normal at birth and weaning, but at the age of 2.5 to 4 months the longitudinal growth of the spine and leg bones can retard in the dwarfs compared with the normal littermates. Most dwarfs perform well, even in the field.5 Canine achondroplasia can be a mild condition, with slightly bowing or simply short legs, causing no discomfort to the animal. Severe achondroplasia requires extensive orthopedic surgery to both alleviate pain and allow the dog to function normally. This surgery, most frequently an ulna, or radius surgery, is generally performed at one year of age when bone growth is nearly complete. Surgical success is variable.

  1. Sharon L. Vanderlip D.V.M. The Shih Tzu Handbook, Barron's Educational Series 2005, p. 120
  2. Clair A Francomano, MD, FACMG, Achondroplasia, Jan. 2006,
  3. Brian Funaki, MD, Achondroplasia, CHORUS, September 2006
  4. Achondroplasia, Genetic Home Reference, December 14, 2007
  5. Hanssen I, Falck G, Grammeltvedt AT, Haug E, Isaksen CV. Hypochondroplastic dwarfism in the Irish setter, J Small Anim Pract. 1998 Jan;39(1):10-4.


By bluemoongazer   Wednesday, March 27, 2013 7:35:12 AM

I think my Jack Russell is achondroplastic. He has a large chest on short, benched (Queen Anne legs). Such dogs are called "shorties." When he was a puppy, I noticed that he could not run as fast as my other dogs. He is of normal size, it is just his chest that is so large that he looks funny. He is quite heavy for his height because of his big chest, large bones and head. The fact that he is achondroplastic did not make him gentler (as some breeders claim). He is a formidable cat chaser, ferocious chipmunk killer and garden digger!

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