Hypothyroidism is a common hormonal disorder in dogs mainly over the age of 5. It is caused by a low level of the hormone “thyroid” which is produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroid controls the speed of the metabolism, so dogs with very low thyroid levels have a slow metabolic rate.
95% of cases of Hypothyroidism are caused by a problem in the gland itself.
Symptoms can be difficult to spot, to begin with, as they come on over a period of time and can be varied. Symptoms can include:
- Dry, brittle coat
- Thinning and subsequent hair loss (often the dog’s tail can go bald)
- Skin infections
- Dog becomes dull, quiet and more lethargic
- Weight gain
Following on from the above symptoms neurological changes can occur including a head tilt, eyes flicking from side to side, loss of balance and facial paralysis.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a number of specialist blood tests.
Treatment is with daily tablets that replace the thyroid in the system. However, your dog will need regular blood tests usually taken every 3-6 months to ensure your dog is getting the correct dose of tablets and also to check that the Thyroid hormone levels remain normal.
The treatment is for life and once the correct dosage of tablets has been determined,dogs tend to remain very stable and have a good quality of life.