What Are The Signs Of Hypothyroidism
When the metabolic rate slows down, virtually every organ in the body is affected. Most dogs with hypothyroidism have one or more of the following signs:
- weight gain without an increase in appetite
- lethargy and lack of desire to exercise
- cold intolerance
- dry, dull hair with excessive shedding
- very thin to nearly bald hair coat
- increased dark pigmentation in the skin
- increased susceptibility and occurrence of skin and ear infections
- failure to re-grow hair after clipping or shaving
- high blood cholesterol
Some dogs also have other abnormalities such as:
- thickening of the facial skin so they have a ‘tragic facial expression’
- abnormal function of nerves causing non-painful lameness, dragging of feet, lack of coordination, and a head tilt
- loss of libido and infertility in intact males
- lack of heat periods, infertility, and abortion in females
- fat deposits in the corneas of the eyes
- keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eye due to lack of proper tear production
Other Support For Hypothyroid Dogs
Here are a couple of other changes that can support your dogs overall health.
DetoxRemember how many chemicals can affect your dogs thyroid? So to help your dogs thyroid and overall health consider a regular detox. This will support all of your dogs organs including the thyroid.
RELATED: Read Dr Dee Blancos advice on detoxing your dog
Manage EMF ExposureMost holistic vets agree that electromagnetic frequencies contribute to many chronic diseases. You can reduce your dogs EMF exposure by:
- Using a wired internet source instead of Wi-Fi
- Turning off Wi-Fi at night and when you leave the house
- Turning off your cellphone at night, and keeping it outside the bedroom
- Keeping phones in airplane mode when not in use
- Keeping cellphones at least 3 feet away from your dog at all times
- Removing cordless phones from your home
- Not letting your dog sit too close when youre on your computer
ExercisePlenty of good exercise supports your dogs overall health. If you live in a city, try to get out into nature with your dog sometimes. Even just a weekend outing will be therapeutic for both of you!
This information can help you find natural solutions for your dogs hypothyroidism. There are lots of things you can before resorting to pharmaceuticals!
START MAKING YOUR OWN DOG FOOD TODAY
Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism In Dogs
Running thyroid testsIn the past it was common to treat thyroid problems based on thyroid symptoms only unfortunately, a lot of people and dogs were treated for hypothyroidism when in fact they may have had other problems that merely interfered with the thyroid.
Human and animal hormones are different and occur at much different levels so tests developed for people are generally inaccurate. Fortunately, today we have a number of tests for pets to evaluate thyroid function. These tests are simple blood tests to measure thyroid produced hormones . All have been developed specifically for dogs and cats and have really helped veterinarians diagnose thyroid problems. Treating thyroid problemsMost thyroid problems in dogs are associated with low levels and so a simple supplementation or addition of thyroid hormones will result in normal levels quickly. Response is generally dramatic. Unfortunately, there is no cure for hypothyroidism and supplementation must be given for life.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
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As With Humans Hypothyroidism In Dogs Manifests As Impaired Mental Function So Reasoning Is Replaced With Panic
The symptoms are most noticeable when the dog is stressed. Problems can begin very early, or may appear in adulthood. In adulthood, separation anxiety or noise phobias may suddenly appear.
Unlike classic symptoms, these dogs may only show behavioral problems. They may also be underweight and hyperactive, a distinct difference from the classic signs. They may have a worried appearance, and may suffer from seasonal allergies, or recurrent skin, ear, and foot infections.
Now that I know this, what should I do?
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Low thyroid levels affect all your dogs organ systems. The symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary greatly from dog to dog, but are all mostly related to your dogs slowing metabolism.
Here are some of the more common symptoms:
- Changes in coat and skin, like increased shedding, hair thinning, and hair loss
- Thickening of the skin
- Reproductive disturbances in intact dogs
Some breeds do appear to be at greater risk of developing hypothyroidism than others. Medium-to-large-size breeds are more likely to develop the disease than toy and miniature breeds, and the Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever, Airedale Terrier, and Irish Setter appear to be predisposed to developing the condition.
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Do Dogs On Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy Need To Be Monitored
Yes. Your veterinarian will monitor your dogs thyroid hormone levels after starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy to make sure the dose is adequate. If the dose is too low, your dog will not be adequately treated and signs will continue. If the dose is too high, your dog may become restless, nervous, drink and urinate more than normal, and lose weight despite having an increased appetite .
After starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy, your dogs thyroid hormone levels should be initially checked every 4 to 8 weeks. Based on these results, your veterinarian may adjust the dose until your dog is adequately maintained. After that, thyroid hormone levels should be monitored periodically in case your dogs requirement for thyroid hormone replacement therapy changes over time.
Dogs with underlying heart disease that are diagnosed with hypothyroidism should be closely monitored by their veterinarians after first starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The dose of heart medication or levothyroxine sodium may need to be adjusted depending on the dogs response to treatment.
Happy Pups + Good Care = Happy Pet Parent
Whether your dog has to live with a hypothyroid for the rest of their life or whether they can recover, one of the best things you can do is give them love and a healthy lifestyle.
Know your dogs habits and moods, feed them a good diet, and make sure they get plenty of exercise, and youll have not just a healthy pup but a happy one.
And when your dogs happy, you will be too!
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Recovery Of Thyroid Hormone Deficiency In Dogs
Usually the majority of symptoms resolve completely with the daily hormone therapy. Your pet will need to have their blood tested regularly to ensure that the circulating hormone levels are remaining normal. Initially these tests will probably occur every four to six weeks, but the frequency will decrease as the hormone levels stabilize. The daily hormone replacement therapy is a lifelong treatment for your canine. With this treatment It is important to note that the altered metabolism from hypothyroidism can intensify and lengthen the effects of some medications, such as anesthetic agents, so care should be taken when determining dosages for the hypothyroid pet.
Hypothyroidism In Dogs Treatment
Treatment in dogs with hypothyroidism first requires diagnosis to help your vet understand what might be causing your dog’s symptoms. The easiest way for a vet to diagnose a dog with hypothyroidism is with blood testing, which consists of multiple tests to determine the presence of any other diseases and rule them out.3
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism in dogs includes a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine or L-T4, which can restore the thyroid hormones and reverse the signs of the disease.2 This medication is given twice daily by mouth, and eventually, some dogs may only need it once a day.3 However, all dogs will need to remain on medication for the rest of their lives.
Most pet parents and vets will recognize that hormone replacement therapy is working by monitoring the dog’s symptoms. The first signs the treatment is effective are positive changes in the dog’s coat and weight after the first few months.2 If treatment is not working, a vet may adjust the dosage or help the pet parent understand the importance of giving their dog their medication correctly. However, it’s also possible a vet’s diagnosis is incorrect, and they’re treating your dog for hypothyroidism when your dog is actually suffering from another illness.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can be subtle and hard to detect, especially in the early stages. Signs of hypothyroidism can include:
- Weight gain with no other clear causes, such as eating more or exercising less
- A change in the dog’s voice
- Dry, scaly, thickened, or discolored skin
- A dull coat and loss of furyou might notice bald patches or excessive shedding
- Behavioral changes, such as depression or increased irritability
A low thyroid hormone level can also affect mental sharpness. It can make a normally alert and curious dog seem distracted or slow to respond to commands.
What Is Low Thyroid In Dogs
Dogs with low thyroid disease have thyroids that dont make enough of the hormones needed to keep their metabolisms up to normal.
Their metabolisms slow way down. The dogs:
- Lose their energy
- Become very lethargic
- Start having issues with their coats of fur or hair
Many dogs with low thyroid begin losing their hair, particularly along their tail and flank side.
Low thyroid in dogs can be genetic.
For example, in some dogs, its an autoimmune disease that runs in their family lines.
Read Also: How To Check The Thyroid
Treatment For Hypothyroidism In Dogs
If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, don’t worry! Even though you can’t cure hypothyroidism in dogs, it’s usually easy and relatively inexpensive to manage with an oral thyroid supplement. The supplement mimics the effect of thyroid hormone on the body. If it’s successful, your dog will regain their energy, lose weight, have a brighter attitude and stop shedding hair.
The key thing to remember when treating thyroid problems in dogs is the importance of balance. If your dog takes too much thyroid supplement, they can develop signs of an overactive thyroid, which is the opposite of what you want. If the vet prescribes your dog a thyroid supplement, it’s important to follow all dosing instructions don’t change the dosage without talking to the vet.
After starting your dog on a thyroid supplement, the vet will likely ask you to return in a couple of weeks to get a follow-up blood test to make sure your dog’s thyroid hormone levels are appropriate. Once their hormone levels are stabilized, the vet will probably want to check them once or twice a year.
Treating Low Thyroid In Dogs
If your dog is diagnosed with low thyroid disease, well likely recommend starting your dog on a special medication, so he or she feels better quickly.
Youll have to give your dog a pill twice a day throughout his or her life
But the great news is youll quickly see a dramatic and positive change in your cherished companion.
Typically, our veterinarians will check your dogs T4 level about a month after you start the medication to make sure your dog is at the right level.
Then, well likely check your dogs blood level once a year in your annual visit, just to make sure your dog is doing well.
With the right care, low thyroid in dogs is a very manageable disease.
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Causes Of Thyroid Hormone Deficiency In Dogs
Most cases of primary hypothyroidism are caused by the canines own immune system targeting the thyroid as if it were foreign tissue. This disorder is known as lymphocytic thyroiditis and is characterized by a diffuse infiltration of foreign cells, such as lymphocytes, plasma cells, and microphages. Production levels of two of the bodys important hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine , are diminished by the inflammation and atrophy of the thyroid gland. Cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and thyroid carcinoma are also known to invade the thyroid. As the thyroid is progressively diminished, symptoms of hypothyroidism will appear. Environmental and dietary elements may also be involved in the development of primary hypothyroidism, although there are cases where the reason for the atrophy is not obvious. In cases where the origin of the damage cannot be reliably determined, it is diagnosed as an idiopathic atrophy.
Secondary hypothyroidism is generally a disease that attacks the pituitary gland instead of the thyroid itself. The decreased amounts of TSH in the blood can result in the atrophy of the thyroid gland. There are many origins to secondary hypothyroidism, such as congenital malformations, cancer on the pituitary gland, Cushings disease, and malnutrition.
Conventional Drugs For Hypothyroidism
If your dogs tests show hes hypothyroid, your conventional vet will want to prescribe a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. The FDA says there is no cure for hypothyroidism. They say this drug is your only option. But this isnt true! There are many dogs whose hypothyroidism can be managed or even reversed with the natural remedies described below.
Levothyroxine Side EffectsBe aware of these known side effects of levothyroxine, and contact your vet if you see any of them in yoru dog.
- Weight loss (despite increased appetite
Dont use this drug if your dog has Addisons disease or in breeding, pregnant or nursing dogs.
Instead of immediately resorting to synthetic hormone medication, there are many natural therapies you can try first.
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Thyroid Tests To Ask For
Dr Dodds recommends a full thyroid panel to diagnose hypothyroidism in your dog:
- Total T4 Total amount of T4 hormone that circulates in the blood. More than 99% of T4 hormone is bound, meaning it attaches to proteins in the blood and never reaches the tissues.
- Free T4 Free T4 level tells the pituitary gland whether it needs to produce more TSH.
- Total T3 both the bound and unbound forms of T3 circulating in the blood. Serum T3 alone is not accurate as its often influenced by secondary non-thyroidal illness.
- Free T3 free T3 level tells the pituitary gland whether it needs to produce more TSH.
- Canine Thyroglobulin Autoantibody dogs with autoimmune thyroiditis will have elevated TgAA.
Hemopet has added a new measurement as well. This is the T4:Free T4 ratio. It helps distinguish between a thyroid disorder and another underlying disease.
Hypothyroidism In Dogs: Causes Symptoms And Treatment
Is your dog becoming sluggish?
Many people attribute behavioral changes and inactivity to old age.
But what if we told you that there might be an underlying health condition causing these symptoms?
Hypothyroidism in dogs can be a condition that is scary when you don’t understand what’s going on.
This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment for hypothyroidism.
As dogs get older, especially purebred dogs, they are prone to developing certain health conditions.
Many dog owners often overlook behavioral changes, but this can lead to underlying conditions becoming worse.
Hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed and untreated.
This is because the symptoms are subtle as compared to other health conditions.
You must stay vigilant and stop taking things for granted.
If you are concerned about anything, it’s best to get it checked out by a professional.
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What Are The Causes
Two diseases cause 95% of hypothyroidism cases: lymphocytic thyroiditis or idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy.1Lymphocytic thyroiditis, the most common cause of hypothyroidism, is a hereditary disease that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid as if it doesnt belong. Idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy occurs when fat tissue replaces thyroid tissue. No one understands why either of these happens. Rare diseases, including cancer, cause the other 5% of cases.
Thyroid Gland Problem: What Is Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Canine hypothyroidism is a thyroid disease caused by underactive thyroid function.
The thyroid is a gland in the throat found in all vertebrates including humans. Its regulated by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which produces the thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH. This hormone gives the thyroid gland instructions on how much T4 and T3 to produce. It regulates the bodys metabolic processes, growth, and development.
There are two main types of thyroid problems: hyperthyroidism, when the gland produces too much thyroid hormone, and hypothyroidism when the gland isnt producing enough. Primary hypothyroidism is when there isnt enough thyroid hormone in the pituitary gland.
The most common hypothyroid problem is a disorder of the immune system disorder called autoimmune or lymphocytic thyroiditis.
This means the dogs own body is attacking the thyroid gland tissues. An inflammation of the thyroid, called thyroiditis, can also occur.
Congenital hypothyroidism is a less common form that affects some puppies, generally due to an underdeveloped thyroid producing limited thyroxine.
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What Is The Thyroid
The thyroid, in dogs and in humans, is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, right next to the windpipe. As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland makes the hormones necessary for cells to function normally. The thyroid affects the body’s metabolism.
If a dog produces too much thyroid hormone, they can develop signs of hyperthyroidism, including diarrhea, increased heart rate, anxiety and hyperactivity. If the thyroid gland doesn’t secrete enough thyroid hormone, you get the exact opposite hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid problem in dogs.
Diagnosis Of Thyroid Hormone Deficiency In Dogs
In order to make a diagnosis your veterinarian will want a full history of the animal, as well as a general physical exam. Helpful information will include when the symptoms started, your pets usual diet, and any medications your dog is on. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis will be ordered as well, to expose any underlying or concurrent diseases that may require treatment. If the results of these tests seem to point to hypothyroidism a test will be done to get a measurement of the thyroxine concentrations.
The veterinarian may choose to conduct additional tests and use advanced imaging techniques, to get more information about the hormone composition in the blood and more information about the visible health of the thyroid. These could include a thyroid stimulating hormone stimulation test, ultrasonography, or radiography. A modified equilibrium dialysis test can test the levels of T4 in the patients blood. That information, combined with the amount of TSH circulating in the blood, will help to confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
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