Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

The thyroid gland is an important gland in a dog’s body, as it produces several hormones which include liothyronine (T3) and levothyroxine (T4), which are required for normal metabolism in the body.

When there is lowered release and production of T3 and T4 by the thyroid gland, hypothyroidism occurs. This is often diagnosed in dogs between the ages of four and 10, while spayed and neutered dogs have been found to be at a higher risk. Hypothyroidism also commonly occurs in medium- and large-sized canines, with certain breeds being more affected than others. These breeds include:

• Cocker spaniels
• Dachshunds
• Miniature schnauzers
• Boxers
• Dobermans
• Irish setters
• Golden retrievers
• Great Danes
• Old English sheepdogs

What Are the Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs?

• Congenital disease
• Cancer
• Iodine deficiency
• After-effects of treatment, including surgery
• Unknown causes

What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs?

• Unexplained weight gain
• Inactivity
• Lethargy
• Excessive scaling
• Poor hair growth
• Mental dullness
• Intolerance to cold
• Generalized weakness
• Hair loss (alopecia)
• Excessive hair shedding
• Dry or lusterless haircoat
• Recurring skin infections

Uncommon symptoms include:

• Seizures
• Infertility
• Tilting of head to one side

How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

A thorough physical exam on your dog will be performed, which will include reviewing background symptoms and possible incidents that might have caused hypothyroidism. Routine laboratory testing will include urinalysis, biochemistry profile and complete blood count. Your veterinarian may be able to make a diagnosis based on these tests, however endocrine testing will also be an important panel to make a proper diagnosis. Additionally, radiography may be utilized to internally examine your dog for abnormalities that could possibly be causing the dysfunction of the thyroid glands.

How is Hypothyroidism Treated?

Treatment for hypothyroidism in dogs is usually lifelong and combines administered at-home medications in conjunction with dietary restrictions. The hormones that are to be given are in a synthetic form, while the dosages will be adjusted based on your dog’s progress and physical conditions. Symptoms may resolve after several months.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you suspect your pet may be suffering from hypothyroidism, or if you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

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