Thyroid glands are essential because they produce vital hormones and this includes two extremely important ones namely liothyroinine (T3) and levothyroxine (T4). The body needs these two hormones because they ensure a dog's metabolism remains stable. When things go wrong and not enough of either of these hormones are produced, dogs develop a condition called hypothyroidism with some breeds appearing to be more predisposed to suffering from the condition than others.
The condition is more commonly seen in dogs when they are anything between four and ten years old, with spayed females and neutered males being at greater risk. The breeds that seem to be the most affected by Hypothyroidism include the following:
When dogs develop hypothyroidism, they display certain signs of there being something wrong with them and this could include the following symptoms:
There could be several reasons why a dog develops the condition which are as follows:
However, a dog can develop hypothyroidism for no apparent reason and as such it remains a mystery as to why some dogs suffer from the condition.
A vet would need to have a dog's full medical history and ideally know their ancestry too which all helps when it comes to confirming a diagnosis. The vet would thoroughly examine a dog suspected of suffering from hypothyroidism and it's important for them to know how the symptoms first manifested themselves. The sort of tests a vet would typically recommend carrying out could include the following:
There are several treatment options available for dogs suffering from hypothyroidism and although it would have to be ongoing for the rest of a dog's life, when carefully managed and monitored they can lead a full and happy life. The good news is that the condition is not life-threatening and dogs can be treated with oral medication that a vet would prescribe in suitable doses which may need changing as time goes by. However, if a dog's condition is not treated it will negatively impact the quality of their life.
As previously mentioned, hypothyroidism is not a life-threatening condition and there are several treatment options available. Providing a dog's condition is carefully monitored and they respond well to their treatment, they can go on to lead happy and active lives.
Once a dog has been diagnosed as suffering with the condition, they would need to be on medication for the rest of their lives. As such, regular health checks are necessary so the vet can monitor their progress and adjust their medication when necessary. Vets typically recommend specific diets for dogs with the condition which contain lower levels of fat.