Cat owners know just how devastating hyperthyroidism can be especially as their feline friends grow older. However, although this is a condition that is quite rarely seen in dogs, it does occasionally rear its ugly head. Hyperthyroidism is a nasty condition that's typically associated with aggressive tumours that develop in a dog's thyroid glands and when this happens too much of the thyroid hormone is produced causing all the damage.
However, research has shown that another reason why too much of this hormone is produced could be because a dog has ingested it from another source and this can happen when they are fed a raw food diet or when they are given certain raw dog treats. But why does this condition develop when dogs are fed a raw food diet?
Research has shown tissues responsible for secreting the active thyroid hormone are not just found in the thyroid gland but they can also be found in minuscule amounts along the entire trachea and even in the chest of an animal. As such dogs that are fed raw food diets that include neck parts would indeed ingest tiny amounts of thyroid hormones and although the amounts are small, it is enough to cause a dog to show symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Vets found that dogs suffering from the condition had, in fact, been fed a raw meat diet that included the neck tissue and/or had bits of thyroid gland in it which therefore contained the damaging thyroid hormone. The other concern that was discovered was in raw dog treats which contained beef necks together with thyroid tissue. This was deemed to be the cause of the higher thyroid levels found in dogs suffering from the condition and there was no evidence of the dogs having developed thyroid tumours which typically causes hyperthyroidism in both cats and dogs.
When dogs were taken off their raw food diet and not fed any raw food dog treats, their blood thyroid levels dropped down to normal and as such all symptoms of the condition dissipated. This confirmed that a raw food diet that contained neck parts of other animals was indeed the underlying cause of the symptoms they were displaying.
Over the years more owners are feeding their dogs raw food diets and the fact it is now possible to order them online whether frozen or fresh, has made it very popular than ever to do so. However, the ingredients used in a lot of these diets include meaty bones which are typically taken from the neck, back and pelvis of chickens, rabbits and from larger animals this tends to be the neck, but only after the more choice bits of muscle have been removed.
The attraction of feeding a dog a raw food diet that contains meat, ligament, tendon and bone is because it is much closer to a diet their ancestors would have eaten in the wild. Because these raw food diets boast a high bone content many people believe this adds all the calcium, phosphorus and magnesium a dog would need to remain healthy. Protein and fat being supplied by the meat found on the neck.
Studies carried out over three years have suggested these diets did indeed contain thyroid tissue contaminated meat which was typically due to the fact they were made up of neck tissue from various animals. As such, many vets all over the world believe they will be seeing a lot more dogs suffering with hyperthyroidism in the coming years simply because they are being fed raw food diets that contains animal neck parts.
The good news is that if your dog does develop any symptoms of the condition and it is diet-related, then just by taking them off their raw food diet, these symptoms will be reversed.
If you want to feed your dog a raw food diet, vets recommend that you only feed one that does not contain any neck parts of chickens, rabbits or larger animals because they will be contaminated with thyroid hormones. If you feed a diet that does contain neck parts, you run the risk of your pet developing higher levels of the hormone in their blood streams and your pet may well start to show symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
It's perfectly okay to feed a raw food diet to a dog but only if you are sure it does not contain any neck parts of any other animal. If you find your dog is showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism, you should get them to the vet so that tests can be carried out to find out whether this is due to them being fed a raw food diet or whether they have developed thyroid tumours. If the root cause of their condition is due to what you are feeding them, the symptoms can easily be reversed simply by removing the offending food from their diets.