Hypothyroidism in dogs is relatively easy to treat but can be difficult to diagnose if you don’t know what to look for. Some symptoms are obvious but not all dogs have the obvious symptoms. My dog Sephi, for example, did not have the obvious symptoms so went through a lot of treatments and harmful medications before a vet thought to check for hypothyroidism. Since testing for hypothyroidism is easy and relatively inexpensive, take note of all the following symptoms. If your dog exhibits even one of them, have him tested.
Which Dogs are at Risk?
According to a pamphlet I received from the Banfield Pet Hospital where Sephi was treated, hypothyroidism commonly occurs in middle-aged or senior dogs. My dog Sephi got it at age six. Certain breeds are also more susceptible: Dobermans, Rottweilers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, and Scotties. According to Banfield, there is no way to prevent a dog from developing hypothyroidism.
One symptom of hypothyroidism which I failed to notice was that Sephi was sleeping more than usual. Since she was six years old and since the change was gradual, I attributed it to old age. Your dog can also exhibit depression or possibly even aggression. Sephi also had aggression issues, but I mistakenly attributed it to her breed mix. Consider having your dog tested for hypothyroidism for any sort of unusual behavior change.
The main clue regarding Sephi’s hypothyroidism was her skin infection. Unfortunately, the first vet was trying to treat the infection rather than considering they underlying cause. The medication they gave me for her infection ended up causing liver problems which caused Sephi undue suffering.
If a dog has hypothyroidism, it is more difficult for them to fight off infections. Infections resulting from hypothyroidism include dry skin, excessive shedding, hair loss, darkening of the skin, ear infections, and pale gums. Dogs with hypothyroidism can also have problems with weight gain, weakness, constipation, or neurological issues such as sagging on one side of the face.
Don’t confuse some of these symptoms for old age. And don’t be afraid to ask for a simple hypothyroidism test if your dog has an infection of some kind. If left untreated, hypothyroid symptoms can get worse and could cause other severe health issues. Treatment for hypothyroidism is generally very easy. Your vet will ask to have their blood tested a few times while the medication dosage is being determined. And the medication itself is very inexpensive.
Do you suspect your dog of having hypothyroidism? Have you ever had a dog with hypothyroidism? Share your experience with us and our readers. We’d love to hear from you.