In today’s entry, I would like to discuss hypothyroidism in dogs. This condition is often unnoticed or misdiagnosed, but it has a huge impact on the health and well-being of our pets. Diagnosing hypothyroidism can be difficult because its symptoms are often similar to other conditions. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of potential problems and pay attention to the various signals our dog may be sending us. In this entry you will learn how to recognize the symptoms of hypothyroidism and what to do if you suspect that your pet may be suffering from it. Not only is the diagnosis crucial – an appropriate approach to diet is also of great importance. Subtle modifications can have a huge impact on the overall health and well-being of our beloved dog. While reading this post, you will discover what nutrients are necessary in the diet of a dog with hypothyroidism and what foods should be avoided.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a problem that affects the thyroid gland, which is responsible for hormone production. In cases of hypothyroidism, the gland does not produce enough hormones. It is a condition that may be acquired (appears during life) or congenital (from birth). Acquired hypothyroidism may be primary or secondary.
- Primary hypothyroidism is the most common condition and is caused by spontaneous impairment of the gland or immunological inflammation. It is estimated that this condition affects 95 % of cases of hypothyroidism,
- Secondary acquired hypothyroidism is less common and results from problems related to the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Congenital hypothyroidism is a rare disorder that may involve an enlarged thyroid gland, also called a goiter. This condition is often observed as part of hypopituitarism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs may include:
- Increased body weight – dogs with hypothyroidism generally experience weight gain,
- Weakness and fatigue – low thyroid hormone levels can cause dogs to lose energy, leading to weakness and excessive fatigue,
- Decreased physical activity – dogs may be less active and seem less interested in daily activities,
- Skin disorders – dry, scaly skin and symmetrical, bilateral alopecia are common symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs.
Less common symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs include, for example, facial nerve paralysis or megaesophagus.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is worth consulting a veterinarian who will perform appropriate tests. In untreated dogs, hypothyroidism can cause serious health problems, so early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving your pet’s quality of life.
Dog breeds genetically predisposed to hypothyroidism.
There are several breeds that are genetically predisposed to developing this condition. These include: cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, Dobermanns, pinschers, Great Danes, Irish setters, miniature schnauzers, poodles and dachshunds. However, it is not guaranteed that all dogs of these breeds will have hypothyroidism. Their genetic predisposition may increase the risk of developing the condition, but this is not always the case. It is important to be aware and observe any symptoms so that in case of problems, you can quickly consult a veterinarian and provide your pet with appropriate help.
What tests to perform in order to check the dog’s thyroid condition?
To check if your dog has hypothyroidism, several tests are necessary. This is so important because this disorder is often overdiagnosed. The whole process is not complicated – start with simple tests such as a blood tests (CBC with blood chemistry and ionogram) and a urine test. Dogs with hypothyroidism often have elevated blood cholesterol levels. Then, additional tests are performed, such as thyroid hormone testing (ft4, T4) and thyroid ultrasound.
Does a dog with reduced thyroid hormones have hypothyroidism?
A dog with reduced thyroid hormones does not always suffer from hypothyroidism. There are many other factors that may be responsible for this, such as a diet low in iodine. Iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, so its deficiency may lead to hormonal disorders. Chronic inflammation can also reduce the level of thyroid hormones. It is also important to remember that some medications, such as glucocorticoids, can affect your dog’s thyroid hormone levels. Therefore, it is important to inform your veterinarian about all medications you are giving to your pet. Another possible cause of reduced thyroid hormone content is the euthyroid sick syndrome.
Does a dog with hypothyroidism need to take medication?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones that are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. To compensate for the hormone deficiency, the veterinarian prescribes appropriate medication. It is important to give it to your dog regularly, as recommended by your veterinarian. Medication throughout a dog’s life is key to minimizing symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism medication for dogs is available by prescription only and require regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor thyroid hormone levels and adjust medication dosages, if necessary. It is also important to monitor your dog’s behavior and respond to any changes that may indicate the need to adjust treatment.
Diet for a dog with hypothyroidism.
A dog with hypothyroidism needs some dietary modifications. One of the most important ingredients that we need to take care of is iodine. Therefore, the first step is to provide your dog with an adequate supply of iodine in the diet. In addition, supplementation with other important components such as zinc, selenium, folic acid and vitamin B12 is also important. If you want – contact me and together we will create a nutritional and supplementation plan that will allow your dog to enjoy long life in health!