Hypothyroidism in canines is a health condition that is caused due to an underactive thyroid gland; which results in decreased production levels of the thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the dogs throat below the larynx and is a small butterfly shaped organ. The thyroid gland is responsible for the productions of two hormones in your pet, T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) which effects the metabolic rate of the body.
The thyroxine hormone T4 is very import to the bodily function of a dog. It is required for food metabolism, growth, heart function, cognitive function, maintenance of muscle and bone and immune function.
It is believed that over 95% of hypothyroidism in dogs, is caused by autoimmune thyroiditis, this is a result of the destruction on the thyroid gland by the body. The other cause for hypothyroidism is thought to be a tumor of the pituitary gland.
The symptoms and signs can vary in pets with hypothyroidism as the deficiency of the hormones affects the function of the body and all the organs. Often your dog may show one or more signs of
Weight gain with out an appetite increase
Coat and skin changes are most common- excessive shedding, dry skin, infections
Lethargy – lack of interest in walks, exercise and play
Intolerance to cold – looking to lie in a warm place
Depression and aggressive behavior
Slow heart rate
Hypothyroidism is commonly detected in middle aged dogs between the ages of 4 – 10 years. It can affect any breed of dog however it is rare in toy breeds. Dog breeds most affected are,
Cannies with hypothyroidism will need treatment for life .If you suspect that you pet may have hypothyroidism a vet visit is highly recommended. You vet will be able to conduct the required blood work to determine and diagnose the disease. Common allopathic treatment uses the drug thyroxine a synthetic hormone. It should be noted that overtime the thyroid gland will completely stop producing the hormone as glands feedback system will indicate that it does not need to produce the hormone anymore due to the use of the synthetic hormone.
The holistic approach is to support the body and help it produce the thyroid hormone using herbs and diet. Dietary supplements such as Thyro UP can be used to support the body if your pet if diagnosed with hypothyroidism it can also be used as a preventative for breeds that may be susceptible to hyperthyroidism.
Never attempt to diagnose your dog on our own. Your vet will be able to perform the required test and make the necessary suggestion.
A low fat diet would be beneficial to a dog that has hyperthyroidism. Vegetable such as broccoli and cabbage should not be fed in large quantities to pets with hypothyroidism as it can reduce the production of the thyroid hormone.