Posts Tagged ‘Hypothyroidism in dogs’

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

March 24, 2012

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.

Behavior Changes
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.

Physical Symptoms
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.

Hypothyroidism in Dogs – What Are the Signs?

March 27, 2010

I am sharing Sephi’s story with you in order to save the time and money I ended up spending to diagnose and treat Sephi’s Hypothyroidism. If me or my vet had known what to look for, I would be over a thousand dollars richer and Sephi would not have had to suffer damage to her liver.

Sephi is none of the above listed breeds (as far as I know) but she is middle-aged. She didn’t seem to exhibit a decrease in energy or weight gain or most of the other symptoms listed above. The only symptom she had was hair loss and skin sores. When we went to the vet, she was tested for bacteria, mites, and allergies. But the vet didn’t even think to check for Hypothyroidism in dogs.

All the results were inconclusive so the vet sent us to a vet which specializes in dermatology in dogs. Tests were done and a bacteria was found. However, the only treatment for this bacteria was a strong medicine often used on horses. Sephi took this medicine as the vet directed, but here were no changes in her skin condition.

After about two weeks on this very powerful medicine, Sephi began to show other very bad symptoms. There was vomiting and diarrhea – sometimes with spots of blood. And she was very lethargic. So much so that she didn’t want to go on her walks.

I thought it was a new symptom so I took her back to my regular vet rather than the specialist. I had no idea it was related to the medication she was taking. But the vet said that the medicine was taking a toll on her liver. They kept her overnight and took her off the medication. The first week back home, Sephi remained tired, but the nasty symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea disappeared.

Soon, Sephi was back to her old self – all except for the skin issue. The skin issue remained. A few weeks later, I took her to the vet again. Since I decided that the very expensive specialist was a waste of time and money, I took Sephi back to her regular vet. Our vet hospital has multiple doctors and this time, Sephi was seen by a different doctor. This veterinarian immediately suggested Hypothyroidism in dogs.

After a short, easy, and inexpensive blood test, the vet found that the T3 and T4 thyroid levels were slightly lower than normal. She gave me a presciption which I was able to fill a 6 month supply for $50.00 at Walmart. The multiple vet visits, expensive prescription which damaged Sephi’s liver, and the treatment for the liver damage cost me over a thousand dollars. Compare that to the under a $100.00 for diagnosis and prescription for Hypothyroidism in dogs. It is quite a difference. If only the first veterinarian I spoke to had the savvy to look for Hypothyroidism in dogs to begin with, I could have saved a lot of money.

Sephi’s skin condition improved within one week on the Hypothyroidism medication. Her liver healed completely and she is once again a very happy dog.

While Sephi did not suffer weight gain, weight gain is a common symptom of Hypothyroidism in dogs. If your dog is middle-aged or older, suffers weight gain, loss of energy, or infections of the skin or ears, have your vet check for Hypothyroidism in dogs before going to a specialist which may cost you hundreds of dollars.