Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism is a
condition resulting from a lowered production and release of T4 and T3 hormones
by the thyroid gland. The leading causes
of this disease range from congenital disease, iodine deficiency, cancer, or
can be of unknown etiology (origin).It is common in medium to large breed dogs,
with some breeds being more predisposed than others. These breeds can include Doberman Pinschers,
Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Old English
Sheepdogs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Boxers, Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels. It is also more commonly diagnosed in
middle-aged dogs between the ages of 4-10 years.
-Unexplained weight gain, or
inability to lose weight
-Alopecia (hair loss)
-Poor coat quality
-Excessively scaly skin
veterinarian will use the history and current physical exams as well as the
background history of symptoms to determine if thyroid testing is required.
exact cause of hypothyroidism may require a thorough investigation. Routine laboratory testing will include a complete
blood cell count, blood chemistry profile, urinalysis, and, importantly,
endocrine testing. The levels of the
hormones T3, T4, and TSH will be measured to determine if these are on the
lower than normal ranges.
treatment of hypothyroidism is usually life-long with careful administration of
medications and diet, as well as routine lab work and physical exams. The
deficient hormones are given in a synthetic form (oral tablets) with the dosage
based on your dog?s individual physical exam, lab results, and progress. Diet modifications,
including a reduction in fat and routine exercise are also recommended
throughout treatment. Most symptoms will
resolve within a few months of starting treatment. However, routine exams and laboratory work
will be necessary to determine whether the dosage should be adjusted.
compliance with the medications and diet are a crucial part in the treatment of
hypothyroidism. To avoid complicating
the condition, do not change the type or dosage of the drug yourself and never
give anything new to your dog, including herbal remedies, without first
consulting the veterinarian.