Dog Hypothyroidism

Rhodesian Ridgeback outside looking past camera.

Dogs can get hypothyroidism, which is a frequent condition in humans. Although certain breeds are more susceptible to illness than others, it may nonetheless harm any dog. Fortunately, your veterinarian can typically quickly identify and treat this issue, but it's still critical for you to be able to see any potential symptoms or indicators of this endocrine disease as a dog owner.

What Is Hypothyroidism in Dogs?

When the thyroid gland in your dog's body does not create enough thyroid hormones, the disease known as hypothyroidism develops. The reverse of hyperthyroidism, which is more prevalent in cats than dogs, is this condition. Your dog has a thyroid gland in its neck, and the hormones it naturally generates are crucial for a variety of body processes. Your dog's metabolism is only one of many biological processes. Your dog might not be able to effectively absorb or digest the nutrients from its diet if it doesn't have enough thyroid hormones, which might lead to a variety of symptoms.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Signs of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive hairloss or thin coat
  • Dry and dull hair coat
  • Increased skin pigmentation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Recurrent skin or ear infections
  • Difficulty regrowing hair after being shaved

Although the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs may not be immediate or noticeable at first, you will notice them if you are searching for them. Hypothyroid dogs are sluggish and put on weight. Additionally, they lose hair, which can result in bald patches or a thin covering all around. The skin darkens owing to an increase in pigmentation, and the hair covering that is left is drier and less lustrous than usual. A hypothyroid dog's hair may not come back or may grow back very slowly if it is shaved. Finally, hypothyroid dogs may be more susceptible to infections of the skin or ears as well as to the cold.

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

The majority of hypothyroidism cases are caused by one of two things:

  • Lymphocytic thyroiditis - This is thought to be an immune-mediated or degenerative disease that may also be genetic.
  • Idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy - Fat tissue replaces thyroid tissue in this disease but no one really knows why.

If the cause of your dog's hypothyroidism is not due to one of the aforementioned reasons, cancer of the thyroid gland or other rare diseases may be the cause.

Diagnosing Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Following a thorough physical examination, the veterinarian will suggest some bloodwork if they feel your dog has hypothyroidism. Triiodothyronine (T3), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAA) may also be examined. (T4) is the thyroid hormone that is most frequently evaluated, either by a total T4 test or a free T4 test. After considering all of the symptoms and the findings of the numerous tests, a diagnosis is formed.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

A drug called levothyroxine can be used to treat the majority of hypothyroidism problems. Thyro-Tabs is one of the brand names used to market levothyroxine. Although there is no known treatment for the condition, levothyroxine may be readily given to your dog every day for the remainder of its life. Levothyroxine dosage needs to be monitored often to ensure the right quantity is being given, but other than that, treating hypothyroidism is generally simple and affordable.

How to Prevent Hypothyroidism in Dogs

The two primary reasons why dogs acquire hypothyroidism are unknown, hence the condition cannot be prevented. Making ensuring that dogs who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism are not bred is the best thing you can do to stop a dog from having the condition. This may lessen the likelihood that the progeny may inherit a genetic susceptibility to the illness.

At-Risk Dog Breeds

Dog breeds that are prone to having hypothyroidism include the English setter, Rhodesian ridgeback, giant schnauzer, hovawart, old English sheepdog, boxer, Doberman pinscher, Gordon Setter, and the beagle. This is because hypothyroidism may have a hereditary component to it. Even if you don't see any symptoms of the condition, many dog breeds may benefit from routine thyroid hormone level check at their yearly veterinarian exam.