Your dog’s thyroid gland is located in his neck. One of its main functions is regulating the metabolic rate. Canine hypothyroidism occurs when the gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, causing your dog’s metabolism to decrease significantly.
Hypothyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance that dog’s suffer from. Usually, it affects middle-aged or elderly canines. Certain breeds are also at an increased risk of developing the condition. Some of these include the Great Dane, Boxer, Golden retriever, and Doberman pinscher.
Hypothyroidism in dogs usually develops because of an immune disorder. Your dog’s own immune system will attack the thyroid gland as if it were the enemy. This condition is commonly called Hashimoto’s Disease or autoimmune thyroiditis.
Canine hypothyroidism usually causes dogs to have problems with skin infections, oily hair, hair loss, and dry coats. They may also become obese or less active. Some dogs suffer anemia and cardiovascular symptoms such as decreased heart rate and abnormal heart rhythms.
It is also common for dogs suffering from hypothyroidism to experience recurring ear infections. Depression and other behavioral changes may also occur. Dogs may start behaving more aggressively, tilting their head, or even having seizures.
In order to diagnose this condition, the vet will start with a medical history and a thorough physical exam. If he suspects that hypothyroidism is the cause of your dog’s symptoms, he will usually take a blood test.
This blood test helps measure levels of thyroid hormone known as T3. However, it’s important to note that the test may show normal levels of the hormone even though your dog really is suffering from hypothyroidism. Fortunately, there are numerous other tests that can help diagnose canine hypothyroidism accurately.
In order to treat this condition, your dog will need to take thyroxine twice a day on a daily basis. Thyroxine is a synthetic thyroid hormone. You will also need to take your pet to the vet regularly for checkups. This will help determine the correct dosage required for your dog. If your dog takes this medication everyday for the rest of his life, he should lead a normal and happy life.