Hypothyroidism In Dogs

Hypothyroidism in dogs is usually caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland and highly affects all the organs in the body. This common disease is found in almost all the breeds but is more commonly found in medium to large breed dogs and usually in middle aged dogs like Golden retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Irish setters, Dachshunds, Boxers, and Cocker spaniels. Thyroid hormone deficiency should be strongly suspected and over-diagnosis should be avoided, as many disorders, particularly those of the skin, can easily be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs?

In dogs, clinical signs associated with hypothyroidism include:

  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Loss of libido and infertility in intact males.
  • Lack of heat periods, infertility, and abortion/miscarriage in females.
  • Fat deposits in the corneas of the eyes.
  • Weight gain. 
  • Lethargy.
  • Cold intolerance. 
  • Dry, dull hair with excessive shedding.
  • Increased dark pigmentation in the skin.
  • Skin and ear infections.

What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism In Dogs?

There are a number of causes of hypothyroidism, but the most common is thought to be an immune-mediated condition where the bodies’ own immune system creates antibodies that attack normal thyroid hormones. A small proportion of cases could be caused by cancerous destruction of the thyroid gland.

What Is The Treatment?

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is by providing oral hormone replacement for the rest of the dog’s life. Initially, thyroid hormone is usually given twice a day. When the hair coat starts to change, some dogs are kept on medication once a day. There are two general types of thyroid medication, T3 and T4. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks before the re-growth of the fur.  Dogs associated with ear infections, should have clean ears and must be given antibiotics.

How Can I Prevent Hypothyroidism In Dogs?

To reduce the risk of hypothyroidism, there are no certain preventative measures a dog parent can take. Nevertheless, good diet and nutrition and the use of natural supplements will improve the immune system and keep your dog healthy.

If you leave hypothyroidism untreated, their symptoms will get worse which may lead to your dog’s death. For additional information on hypothyroidism in dogs or other animals, visit https://www.zoetisus.com/ or contact us at 1-888-963-8471 (Mon–Fri, 8:30am–8:00pm ET).

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