What is hypothyroidism in dogs?
About your dog’s thyroid gland
A dog’s thyroid is located in the neck, near the windpipe, and is part of the endocrine system which is responsible for controlling and producing hormones.
The primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland in dogs is thyroxine, or more commonly, T4. This hormone helps to regulate your dog’s weight, energy levels, coat colour, and fur thickness.
How does hypothyroidism affect a dog?
When a dog is affected by hypothyroidism, its thyroid gland will produce smaller amounts of the T4 hormone. The slower production of the T4 hormone can lead to:
- weight gain
- hair loss
- inability to regulate body temperature
Left untreated, hypothyroidism symptoms will worsen in dogs and cause further and more severe complications.
Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism in dogs?
While similar in spelling and pronunciation, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are different and affect your dog oppositely. While hypothyroidism refers to a decrease in the production of hormones, hyperthyroidism refers to an increase.
Is hypothyroidism common in dogs?
Hypothyroidism isn’t uncommon in dogs and some breeds are predisposed or more at risk of it developing. And though it can sound alarming, hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid-related problem in dogs and is manageable and treatable with veterinary assistance.
So, if you begin to notice symptoms or warning signs, you can easily help your pet by making an appointment with us.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs?
You might begin to consider if your pet is being affected by hypothyroidism if they become sluggish, gain weight, lose hair, and start to seek out warm places instead of their usual favourite spots.
Hypothyroidism and issues with your dog’s thyroid gland are often noticed with common symptoms like:
- dullness of their fur coat
- hair loss or thinning of fur (often without redness or agitation)
- an increase in shedding or scaling
- weight gain
- lethargy and reduction in activity
- reduced ability to tolerate cold temperatures
- increased regurgitation or coughing
Diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism in dogs
How to diagnose hypothyroidism in dogs
As the symptoms of hypothyroidism are broad and can apply to many different situations, hypothyroidism can only be diagnosed by a veterinary professional after a small series of tests.
After an initial examination, your veterinarian may recommend blood tests to investigate the hormone levels present in your dog’s body.
Treating hypothyroidism in dogs
While hypothyroidism isn’t completely curable, it is treatable and manageable with the help of ongoing supplements of thyroid hormones. These supplements can help your dog to resume normal activities, regrow hair, and regulate its body temperature once again.
As your pet ages and its tolerance to the thyroid replacement hormone develops, the dosage may need to be periodically adjusted. Because of that, we recommend that pet owners visit their local vet every six months for a general checkup and to retest thyroid hormone levels.
Close communication with your veterinarian is important to ensure your pet’s condition is continually monitored and managed.
If your pet is showing symptoms of hypothyroidism
If you think your pet may be affected by hypothyroidism, it’s important that you take them to your local veterinarian for a thorough examination.
Pet owners in and around Ooralea, North Mackay, and Mirani, can contact Stabler & Howlett Veterinary Surgeons to make a booking for their pet. Contact us online or call our friendly reception teams to get started.