"Endocrine Diseases in Dogs

"Endocrine Diseases in Dogs

Health & Safety

A dog's endocrine system is vital to their well-being and as such when it is negatively impacted in any way, it can result in dogs being more at risk of developing serious health disorders and diseases. The system is made up of various tissues which includes a dog’s thyroid gland and their job is to release all important hormones into a dog's bloodstream so they can travel to other parts of the body. Any sort of endocrine disease interrupts this important function resulting in dogs being put at risk of developing diabetes as well as other health issues.

The Causes of Endocrine Disease

A dog can develop an endocrine disease because not enough or too little of these valuable hormones are produced in their systems. It can also happen because routes the hormones take in a dog's system are interrupted in some way which could include a type of blockage. The problem can also start in the tissues themselves which is where the hormones are produced and this negatively impacts other parts of a dog’s body and vital organs.

The most common reasons why a dog might develop an endocrine disease could be because they are suffering from the following health issues:

  • Tumours or other abnormal growths in the endocrine system which can cause an overproduction of hormones
  • An endocrine gland has been damaged or destroyed which results in too little of the hormone being produced
  • Hyperthyroidism which causes too much hormone production
  • Hypothyroidism which causes too little hormone production
  • Obesity

Sometimes a growth or tumour can develop outside the endocrine system and when this happens substances similar to hormones are produced which can lead to the body responding incorrectly. Some health issues associated with endocrine disease includes the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus which is when a dog produces insulin in their systems, but cells fail to respond correctly

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would ideally need to have a dog’s full medical history and how the onset of the symptoms first presented themselves. The more information a vet can be given, the better because it all helps when making a diagnosis. The type of tests a vet would recommend carrying out could include the following:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full biochemistry profile
  • A urinalysis

Treatment Options

When dogs develop an endocrine disease and the underlying cause has been identified, the vet would then be in a better position when it comes to deciding on a treatment to resolve the problem. Should the problem be due to a tumour or growth, this may need to be surgically removed, but only if this is possible. The vet would typically refer a dog to a veterinary oncologist who would assess the dog's condition before deciding on the best treatment option which could include the following:

  • Radiotherapy

Should the vet find that the hormone imbalance is due to a deficiency, they may recommend correcting the problem by giving a dog insulin injections should it be found they are suffering from diabetes mellitus. When dogs are prescribed any sort of hormone replacement therapy, their condition needs to be closely monitored to make sure they are responding well to the treatment and that they are not suffering from any side effects.


Most dogs that suffer any sort of endocrine system disease need to be regularly examined by a vet to make sure they are responding well to a treatment. It is worth noting that most dogs even when they have been successfully treated for an endocrine system disease would need to continue the treatment for the remainder of their lives.

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