Dog diseases, hypothyroidism

There are certain diseases that dog’s can have during their lives that can cause many problems in their overall health. With hypothyroidism in dogs their endocrine system tends to suffer the most. The endocrine system regulates things like temperature, weight, memory, muscles, and a few other things. We are going to explore the symptoms of hypothyroid disorder in dogs including symptoms, causes, and treatment to help dog owners to better understand what their dog may be going through.

The dog breeds that are most commonly affected by hypothyroid include Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Greyhounds. In some cases these breeds may be affected by the counterpart, which is hyperthyroidism. You should also know there are two types of hypothyroid disorder in dogs. First autoimmune thyroiditis is where the immune system actually attacks the thyroid gland; in the other case you have lymphocytic thyroiditis which is where the gland fails to produce enough of the thyroid hormone to regulate the body. You will find that in each case the symptoms and treatment will be the same.

Symptoms of hypothyroid disorder can be a little difficult to diagnose by the unsuspecting owner as there are several reasons some of these symptoms may occur. The first in the short list of symptoms is hair and skin changes. You will start to notice that your dog is shedding more. There are inadequate levels of thyroid hormone for hair to grow which means it will begin to grow sporadically over the body and they will lose hair. Most areas that are affected by this hair loss are the legs, and back. You will also find that the dog’s hair will become scruffy, dull, and flaky. The skin is another clue. Most often dogs have sensitive skin, but in the case of thyroid disorders they can gain more irritations, in some cases they may have black pigment growing on the skin around the groin area. They will also have itchy areas and allergic reactions or infections. The toenails will become less strong, and they tend to break off or have infections.

Infertility is another symptom of hypothyroid disorder. With females the cycle they go through becomes erratic. This means that it is very hard to gauge when they will be in a fertile state or be in heat. Often times they just pass over being in heat. They may also display a false pregnancy. With male dogs you will see low sperm levels or a decreased desire to mate.

Weight is another area of hypothyroid disorder that is affected. Most usually it is hard to understand the weight gain a dog will experience with this disease because diet, a change in exercise, and other things can cause a weight gain and you may not always notice the weight gain. These are the most common symptoms to look for, but what causes the actual hypothyroidism? The cause is largely undetermined. It is thought to be a genetic disorder, but we don’t really understand why some dog breeds are more commonly affected by this ailment. The most common treatment for hypothyroid is a medication that will synthesize the actual thyroid hormone the dog is not producing. The vet will have to work with the dosage until they get it on the proper level, but the dog can live a relatively normal life by taking the medication every day. In some cases medication for a few months may be enough to help regulate the thyroid into producing the hormone again, but most dogs will be on medication for life. They should be tested every six months to make sure the thyroid levels have not changed or if they have to change medication appropriately.