Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Labrador dog resting indoorsHypothyroidism is a condition that causes low thyroid function, most commonly among dogs (although cats can also be affected). Most notably synonymous with weight gain, hypothyroidism in dogs can also produce behavioral changes, which are often observed before any physical symptoms can be detected.

Hypothyroidism in dogs is primarily diagnosed among medium to large breeds, particularly:

  • Doberman pinschers
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Irish setters
  • Greyhounds
  • Golden retrievers
  • Airedale terriers
  • Great danes
  • English bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Dachshunds

Increased risk also coincides with aging – most hypothyroid pets are between the ages of 4-10 years old.

Because hypothyroidism is one of the most frequently diagnosed problems among dogs, Schertz Animal Hospital wants to address this condition and discuss how it can affect your beloved pet.  

Overview of Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a gland that consists of two lobes located in the base of the neck. This gland produces a hormone called thyroxine, which regulates the body’s metabolic rate.

In hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not produce enough of this hormone, so weight gain can be a problem, even when a pet’s eating habits are healthy. The opposite of this condition is hyperthyroidism, which occurs when too much thyroxine is released, causing weight loss and other health problems (especially in cats).

There are three main causes of hypothyroidism: growth or destruction of thyroid tissue, a tumor, or genetics.

Hypothyroidism in dogs often results in weight gain/obesity, dermatological problems, depression, and a dull coat/hair loss. Left untreated, it can also lead to a  decreased heart rate, muscular atrophy, anemia/blood disorders, nerve and joint pain, and lethargy.

Treating Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Using modern diagnostic tools and an in-house lab, our team is able to accurately diagnose hypothyroidism in pets. Testing is usually accomplished through the use of a blood thyroid profile, which analyzes certain hormone levels. Adrenal disorders, such as Cushing’s disease, can also cause hypothyroidism, so reviewing adrenal health and function is important as well.

Treatment includes the use of a thyroid replacement hormone, monitoring hormone levels, adjusting diet/nutrition, and exercise.

To learn more about hypothyroidism in dogs and other pets, please give us a call.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!