Causes Of Hyperthyroidism In Dogs
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in dogs is a cancerous thyroid mass that can be either a thyroid carcinoma or thyroid adenocarcinoma that overproduces thyroid hormones. Thyroid masses usually exist within the thyroid gland. However, there can be thyroid tissue in abnormal places. This is referred to as an ectopic thyroid tissue, and can be present under a dogs tongue, or at the base of the heart. As a result, thyroid tumors can occasionally be found in those areas and lead to hyperthyroidism. Rarely, a benign mass called a thyroid adenoma within the thyroid gland can also cause hyperthyroidism.
Dogs that consume commercial raw meat diets contaminated with thyroid tissue can develop hyperthyroidism. Supplements that contain kelp or seaweed can trigger hyperthyroidism if ingested. This condition can also occur because of overmedication with thyroid supplements when a dog has hypothyroidism .
Any breed of dog is susceptible to getting hyperthyroidism. However, the dog breeds that have a higher incidence of developing a thyroid tumor are Beagles, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies. Hyperthyroidism occurs most often in older dogs.
Causes Of Thyroid Gland Disorder In Dogs
Nearly all cases of hypothyroidism in dogs are caused by the destruction of the thyroid gland, which is caused by a genetic disorder. This genetic cause for hypothyroidism makes up 95% of all cases. Less likely, but possible, causes include: impaired thyroid hormone secretion, congenital abnormalities and other congenital defects.
Treating Thyroid Problems In Dogs
Thyroid disease is very common in dogs. Rest assured, proper treatment is safe and can help enable a full and active life for your dog. The treatment usually lasts for life and involves a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone, adjustable by the vet based on your dogs progress. The most common form of treatment is L-thyroxine, a thyroid hormone replacement, and can come in either liquid, tablet, or chewable form.
Many of the initial symptoms will resolve within weeks to a few months, but its important to get your dog checked based on your vets recommendations and to continue proper dosage. Left untreated, a thyroid disease will affect the quality of your dogs life. For additional support, ask your veterinarian how the addition of full spectrum hemp dog treats in your dogs diet might help. It is important to explore all your pets options on how to best support them during this stage of their life.
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Treating Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Hypothyroidism is treatable. Your veterinarian will probably give your dog a prescription for thyroxine, a replacement hormone compound, to offset your dogs low thyroid function.
The dosage will vary depending on your dogs weight and thyroid levels. Your veterinarian may need to adjust your dogs dosage over time, and you should expect to see results after one to two months. Once your veterinarian has determined a stable dose, your dog will most likely need to have his thyroid levels retested once or twice a year and continue the stable dose of medication, for the rest of his life.
What Is Thyroid Gland Disorder
The thyroid glands are located in the neck and produce hormones that help the body to function. In dogs, thyroid disease, also known as hypothyroidism, usually causes a deficiency of thyroid hormone production. Hypothyroidism is more common in medium to large breeds and middle-aged dogs . Commonly affected breeds include Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, and Airedale Terriers. It does not affect one sex more than the other. The majority of hypothyroidism cases in dogs are caused by the destruction of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Gland Disorder Average Cost
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What Can I Do To Prevent Thyroid Cancer In Dogs
There is no single answer to the question of how to prevent cancer in dogs. As dog owners, the best you can do for your pets is provide a healthy lifestyle that supports overall well-being.
A healthy lifestyle is an umbrella term that includes a nutritious diet, regular physical exercise, using pet-safe products, and regular checkups with your vet.
If your dog is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the goal is to provide the best cancer treatment possible. Sadly, the treatment for canine tumors can be costly.
This is where pet insurance policies come in handy. We suggest the OneVet insurance policy. The policy gives you 24/7 access to a licensed vet, a $3000 emergency fund, and coverage for all pre-existing conditions, all for just $19.99 a month.
How Is It Diagnosed
The most common screening test is a total thyroxin level. This is a measurement of the main thyroid hormone in a blood sample. A low level of total thyroxin, along with the presence of clinical signs is suggestive of hypothyroidism. Definitive diagnosis is then made by performing a free T4 by equilibrium dialysis or a thyroid panel that assesses the levels of multiple forms of thyroxin. If this test is low, then your dog has hypothyroidism. Some pets will have a low TT4 and normal free T4 by ED. These dogs do not have hypothyroidism. Additional tests may be necessary based on your pet’s condition. See handout Thyroid Hormone Testing in Dogs for more information.
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How Long Do Dogs With Hypothyroidism Live
Dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism will get treatment for their disease for the rest of their life. However, the life expectancy for dogs with hypothyroidism is normal. Most dogs go on to live full lives as long as they receive their treatment. While hypothyroidism isn’t curable, it is easily manageable. Dogs that are treated for hypothyroidism may see improvements in their symptoms within just a few months.
Of course, the earlier you can have your dog diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the better their outcome will be. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs, it’s best to consult your vet to help determine whether your dog has hypothyroidism or another medical concern..
Diagnosis Of Thyroid Gland Disorder In Dogs
There are a few options for diagnosing hypothyroidism in dogs:
- Blood panel while this may reveal symptoms of hypothyroidism, other illnesses can affect the results of this test
- Laboratory tests to monitor concentrations of thyroid hormones your veterinarian may also try administering a thyroid-stimulating hormone to verify that the cause is hypothyroidism
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Common Thyroid Problems In Dogs And What To Do About Them
Like in humans, thyroid glands are an important part of a dogs anatomy and they affect a number of different organs in a dogs body. If a dogs thyroid gland is not working properly, this can cause problems with the heart, liver, kidneys, brain and skin.
While the importance of these glands is undeniable, pet owners rarely know where they are located or what they look like. More importantly, many are often unfamiliar with common thyroid problems in dogs and what to do about them. Lets take a look at dogs’ thyroid glands, their role and some common related issues that may affect your pooch.
How Long Can Dogs Live With Thyroid Cancer
The median survival time of a dog with thyroid cancer is about 24 months. The exact survival time for dogs with thyroid cancer depends on the size of the tumor, stage of cancer, and the quality of treatment.
If the surgery is a success, the dog can live up to 36 months. However, some dogs die within a year of diagnosis, often due to late diagnosis and inadequate treatment.
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Ranger A Lovely Yellow Lab With Low Thyroid
Ranger was one of Dr. Melanies favorite dogs
An energetic yellow lab, Ranger loved playing in the water. During the summer, hed even ride on wave runners with her!
At one point in his life, Ranger had surgery.
Soon after, Dr. Melanie began to notice an odd thing in the weeks after the surgery.
His hair wouldnt grow back where Dr. Mel and her veterinary team had shaved him for the procedure.
He also was having unusual weight issues.
Even though Dr. Melanie was actively watching his food and activity levels, he was gaining quite a bit of weight.
So what was going on?
It turned out Ranger had low thyroid.
Recovery Of Thyroid Gland Disorder In Dogs
The treatment for hypothyroidism is typically lifelong and is usually given by mouth or ear. The treatment will be administered from 4 to 8 weeks before effectiveness can be adequately measured. Regrowth of fur will also take 4 to 8 weeks. Until a stable dosage is found, multiple blood tests are required to measure the levels of thyroid hormone T4 in the blood and adjust the dosage. Once the dosage is stabilized, levels will be checked once or twice a year.
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What Happens If The Medication Is Overdosed
Signs of hyperthyroidism can result. These include hyperactivity, lack of sleep, weight loss, and an increase in water consumption.
Since the thyroid gland is such an important gland, it is extremely important that hypothyroidism be properly controlled. If you have any questions about this disease, or if you are concerned about your pet’s response to treatment, please contact your veterinarian.
|Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM
What Are Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Look out for these common symptoms of hypothyroidism in your pup:
- Rough, dull coat
- Scabs, sores and repeated superficial skin infections that dont clear up
- Reduced ability to tolerate cold temperatures
- Ear or toenail infections
While dandruff and other infections can make your dog uncomfortable, substances called mucopolysaccarides may build up and result in the appearance of drooping facial muscles.
However, hair loss which occurs mostly on the body , is usually not accompanied by itchy skin or redness. You may occasionally see your poochs skin thicken and its pigmentation increase, especially where it rubs against itself, such as in the armpit.
Your vet may also notice that your furry friends muscles and nerves are functioning abnormally, hindering his walk or causing his body to weaken. He may also have a dilated esophagus, which can lead to regurgitation. Though not widespread, the condition has also been linked to issues with the heart and blood vessels, infertility and seizures.
Though skin infections may require treatment, once your vet has adjusted your pups thyroid medication to an appropriate level for him, skin issues should resolve.
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What Causes Thyroid Cancer In Dogs
The exact cause of thyroid cancer is not known. Like most canine cancers, it is triggered by a combination of risk factors. However, the usual dietary and nutritional risk factors do not seem to play a role in developing thyroid cancer in dogs.
Here is a short review of the factors that contribute to thyroid cancer in dogs:
- Genetics. The genetic component is visible since the condition is more common in certain dog breeds .
- Age. Like most tumors, thyroid cancer in dogs seems more common in older dogs. Usually, it affects dogs over the age of nine.
Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism In Dogs
Hyperthyroid dogs have an increased metabolism, which leads to hyperactivity and weight loss despite a ravenous appetite. They also tend to have increased calcium, which can cause the following symptoms:
If the cause of the hyperthyroidism is a cancerous mass in the thyroid gland, then this tumor can often be palpated within the neck region and cause coughing, difficulty breathing, difficulty eating, and alter the tone of a dogs bark.
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Hormonal Disorders: Thyroid Disease Overview
Dog Hormonal Disorders Quicklinks
Thyroid problems in dogs are usually referred toas the conditions hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Inhypothyroidism, too little hormone is being released by the thyroid.The reverse is true with hyperthyroidism, where too much hormone isbeing released into your dog’s body.
The hormones made in the thyroid are labeled T3, andT4, which are of concern whendiagnosing thyroid problems in dogs. Too little T3 and T4 result in alow metabolism and too much results in the metabolism being too high.The metabolic rate regulates many functions in the body includingweight, digestion, the heart rate, the ability to reproduce, and skinand coat health.
Hypothyroidism is much more common thanhyperthyroidism in dogs. Treatment involves synthetic hormonereplacement therapy and the possible use of homeopathic supplementsdesigned to support and soothe the thyroid.
Source: NC State University
What Are The Signs Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs
Because hypothyroidism causes your pet’s metabolism to slow almost every organ in your pup’s body is affected by the disease. If your pooch is suffering from hypothyroidism you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Dark pigmentation of the skin
- Recurring ear infections
- Thickening of skin
- Reproductive issues
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms listed above they may be experiencing the effects of hypothyroidism. Contact your vet to book an appointment for your dog.
If your vet suspects that your dog has hypothyroidism they will do a full physical examination of your dog and run a series of blood tests to check your pup’s levels of thyroid hormones T4 and T3. There are other conditions that mimic the symptoms of hypothyroidism, meaning that diagnostic testing may be fairly extensive in order to get a definitive diagnosis.
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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.
Are There Concerns About Unapproved Levothyroxine Products For Dogs
FDA has serious concerns about unapproved animal drugs, including unapproved levothyroxine sodium products for dogs. Unapproved animal drugs have not been reviewed by FDA and may not meet the agencys strict standards for safety and effectiveness. They also may not be properly manufactured or properly labeled. FDA advises veterinarians and dog owners to avoid using unapproved levothyroxine products.
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What Happens If Canine Hypothyroidism Goes Untreated
If hypothyroidism goes untreated, it can shorten a dog’s lifespan because the thyroid gland affects the dog’s ability to metabolize food into energy. In addition, dogs with untreated hypothyroidism can develop fatal illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, high cholesterol, and decreased immune function. Once your dog is diagnosed, treatment requires daily oral medication and vet visits to monitor their hormone levels at least once or twice a year. Ultimately, treatment is easy, and it can dramatically improve your dogâs quality of life while preventing life-threatening complications.
Hyperthyroidism In Dogs Faqs
What dog breeds are predisposed to hyperthyroidism?
Any dog breed can acquire hyperthyroidism. However, the dog breeds that have a higher incidence of developing a thyroid tumor are Beagles, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and Siberian Huskies.
What is a dog goiter?
A goiter refers to an enlargement of the thyroid gland due a benign medical condition, such as congenital hypothyroidism, or a side effect to an oral antibiotic called trimethoprim-sulfa. Once the underlying cause is treated, the goiter resolves.
What is the life expectancy of dogs with hyperthyroidism?
A dog that has a non-adhered, cancerous thyroid tumor has a life expectancy of up to three years if surgery, radiation, or radioactive iodine therapy is performed to treat hyperthyroidism. If metastasis is present, then survival time is less than a year with treatment options such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or radioactive iodine therapy.
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How Is Hypothyroidism In Dogs Diagnosed And Treated
Untreated hypothyroidism can affect your dogs quality of life, so its imperative to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get an official diagnosis so your pup can begin treatment.
There may be numerous symptoms, but this disease isnt life-threatening and is fairly inexpensive to treat. Your dog may need several blood tests to diagnose the condition, and specific doses of the manmade hormone levothyroxine may be described. Your dog will need to take these orally on a daily basis for the rest of his life.
Therapies such as low dose natural hormone replacement, glandulars and homeopathy may also help, in addition to high-quality, gluten-free natural foods, fermented foods, fluoride-free filtered water and lots of exercise in nature. If your dog has sensitivities to certain foods or substances, your vet will need to identify them so you can avoid them.
Your vet may also recommend incorporating a few natural fibrous nutrients such as cooked broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, cucumber, carrot, green beans, mushrooms, lettuce and cooked spinach.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.