Hypothyroidism in dogs is a common disease caused by hormonal imbalance. Although it can be seen in all breeds, it is especially common in Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Boxer and Cocker Spaniel breeds. Since hypothyroidism, which is more common in middle-aged and medium-large breed dogs, affects the metabolic rate, early recognition of its symptoms is important. In this article, you can find detailed information about hypothyroidism in dogs.
What Is Hypothyroidism in Dogs?
The thyroid gland is located in the neck region and produces a hormone called thyroxine, which is involved in converting the consumed food into energy. The condition of insufficient secretion of thyroxine hormone is called “hypothyroidism”. On the contrary, when the thyroxine hormone is produced too much, this condition is called “hyperthyroidism”. When dogs have hypothyroidism, their metabolic rate slows down significantly. Symptoms also appear in the form of symptoms characterized by slowing metabolism.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs?
As we just mentioned, hypothyroidism in dogs causes the metabolism to slow down. The slowdown in the rate of metabolism can also affect all organs in the body. Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can be listed as follows:
- Weight gain despite no change in appetite
- Fatigue, low energy,
- Decreased cold tolerance,
- Deterioration of feathers, excessive hair loss,
- darkening in skin color,
- Increase in skin and ear infections,
- Hair growth after shaving
- high cholesterol levels and
- Decreased heart rate.
In addition to all these symptoms, hypothyroidism can lead to different anomalies in some dogs. Thickening of the facial skin and a sad facial expression of dogs, lameness and lack of coordination, infertility, fat accumulation in the corneal layer of the eye, dry eye due to decreased tear production may be among the symptoms that may occur due to hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism in dogs is usually suspected to be caused by one of two diseases. One of these diseases is lymphocytic thyroiditis and the other is idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy. Lymphocytic thyroiditis is considered the most common cause of hypothyroidism in dogs. In such a case, the immune system perceives the thyroid glands as a danger and attacks the glands by activating the defense mechanism. Although the exact cause of this response of the immune system is not known, it is thought to be the effect of genetic factors. In the case of idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy, the normal tissue of the thyroid glands is replaced by adipose tissue. The exact cause of this disease is also unknown. 95% of the causes of hypothyroidism in dogs are due to these two diseases. However, the remaining 5% of causes include different health problems such as thyroid cancer.
Diagnosing Hypothyroidism in Dogs
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism in dogs is usually easily made. The first step to be taken with the observation of the symptoms caused by the disease is to apply to the examination of the veterinarians. In order to better understand the symptoms experienced by the dogs during the control, the history of the disease should be given in detail. After a physical examination, it may be possible to diagnose the disease with blood tests and urinalysis.
Treating Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism in dogs is a disease that cannot be completely cured, but can be controlled and managed with the right treatments. Since there is a deficiency of thyroid hormones in hypothyroidism, the priority will be to close the hormone deficiency. In this direction, the dogs can be started on hormone therapy. If hormone therapy is successful, it can be noticed that the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs begin to regress and the dogs begin to regain their old energy.
If supplementation is recommended for the treatment of hypothyroidism in dogs, the dose and frequency of use recommended by veterinarians should be adhered to. Dose adjustment is usually made according to the weight of the dogs. If dogs are given too much supplementation, unintended consequences may occur and dogs may show signs of hyperthyroidism. A few weeks after the start of the treatment, information about the latest status of the hormone balance can be obtained by going to the controls.