Hypothyroidism is caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland and is usually responsible for the decrease in thyroid hormone production. This can be part of a natural aging process and is seen in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, Dobermans and other medium to large sized dogs over the age of 6. This decrease in thyroid hormone causes the metabolic rate to slow.
- Symptoms include weight gain, lethargy, cold intolerance, dry or dull hair coat, baldness, changes in the pigmentation of the skin, and repeat skin or ear infections.
- Several other conditions can be associated with hypothyroidism including KCS (dry eye), corneal ulcers, deafness, anemia, chronic constipation, thickening of the skin on the face, increased aggression, nerve paralysis, ataxia, and infertility.
- Diagnosis is made by a blood test called a T4 that tests the level of thyroxin in the blood.
- Hypothyroidism is easily treated with a thyroid replacement hormone that comes in pill form.
- Blood for a T4 retest must be drawn 4-6 hours after your pet’s morning dose of medication.
- A T4 should be performed every 6 months.
- Successful treatment of hypothyroidism should result in the reversal of the majority of symptoms associated with the condition.
If your dog has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or you have noticed some of these symptoms and believe your dog may be hypothyroid, please contact Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital at 201-646-2008 to schedule an appointment.