Rolo is diagnosed with primary hypoparathyroidism

Davies Veterinary Specialists

Internal Medicine

24th June 2020

Rolo was diagnosed with an uncommon disease causing twitching and seizures…

Rolo was showing signs which are scary for every pet owner – seizures.

It started only a few months prior to referral with just one seizure but after suddenly experiencing multiple seizures in a day, Rolo was referred to the Neurology team at Davies Veterinary Specialists. Initial investigations started with a blood sample which showed very low calcium. This indicated that the cause of the seizures may not be neurological, so Rolo was transferred to our Internal Medicine team for further investigations. Medic Eva Buresova took over Rolo’s care to determine the cause of her low blood calcium levels.

Eva started by taking a very detailed history from Rolo’s owners. Our Internal medicine team are always very thorough when taking a history of the pets they see to make sure that no small detail is missed – to such an extent that sometimes the questions they ask may seem odd and not relevant!

From speaking to Rolo’s owners, Eva learnt that Rolo had started to eat less, she had been having twitches and tremors within her muscles occasionally, and she had been rubbing her face. Rolo also seemed to be suffering from pain around her tail, which made her bite her back end and caused her to be very worried whenever anybody tried to pet her.

Davies Veterinary Specialists Canine Primary Hypoparathyroidism case study

Following further investigations, Rolo was diagnosed with a rare disease called primary hypoparathyroidism. This disease is characterised by low levels of the parathyroid hormone – an important hormone which maintains normal calcium levels in the body. If the parathyroid gland, which is located next to the thyroid in neck region, stops producing this hormone calcium levels in the body become dangerously low and can cause twitching, tremors of muscles and even seizures. Face rubbing, interestingly, is also a very typical sign of low calcium levels that often may be missed or not considered important.

Rolo was immediately started on calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is an important vitamin needed to absorb calcium from the intestine. Her seizures stopped completely and her twitching slowly ceased as well.

We were pleased to hear that after a week at home on her medications, Rolo’s parents reported a great appetite and no tail pain (we suspect that the tail pain was due to chronic cramps that made her muscles very sore). Rolo is now back home and is supplemented only with vitamin D, this helps her to absorb enough calcium from normal food and therefore she no longer requires additional calcium supplements.

“Dogs with primary hypoparathyroidism can live completely normal and long lives as long as the medication is given to them for the rest of their life and they have routine blood calcium checks to make sure that the right dose of vitamin D is given” explained Eva.

Sam Price, one of our veterinary nurses who regularly takes care of Rolo during her re-visits to us, said: “Since Rolo started her treatment, she has been such a bright, happy and adorable dog and we always look forward to seeing her back.”

Davies Veterinary Specialists Canine Primary Hypoparathyroidism case study

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