By Dr. Travis Cerf
WHAT IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?
Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormone produced by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism develops in middle aged to elderly dogs with breed predispositions in the Doberman pinscher, the Golden retriever, the Irish setter, the Great Dane, the Dachshund, and the Boxer.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM?
- Hair loss (tail and around the collar especially)
- Skin infections (scaly and oily coat)
TESTING FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM
In dogs over the age of seven, a general blood panel with a thyroid panel should be run every year. A dog can have a decreased T4 for a number of reasons including chronic diseases, so T4 alone is not adequate to make a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
TREATMENT OF HYPOTHYROIDISM
Hypothyroidism is treated with oral administration of thyroid hormone. Dogs have to be on thyroid supplementation for life. The thyroid blood levels should be checked every six months 4 to 6 hours after the morning pill.