Hypothyroidism is a disease that affects the thyroid gland and has implications for the entire body of the dog. Above all, we will be struck by the lack of hair and its poor appearance.
But there are other symptoms that can also present dogs suffering from hypothyroidism, so it is essential to go to the vet to confirm the diagnosis. It is a disease for which there is effective treatment.
Index of contents
- 1 What is hypothyroidism?
- 2 What are the causes of hypothyroidism?
- 3 Which dogs have hypothyroidism?
- 4 Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs
- 5 Hypothyroidism and other diseases
- 6 How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
- 7 How is hypothyroidism treated?
What is hypothyroidism?
As its name suggests, a dog with hypothyroidism will have a deficit in the production of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. This gland is located in the throat, under the larynx.
It is responsible for producing thyroxine or T4 and triiodothyronine or T3. The decrease in its secretion causes the dog to present a lower metabolic rate than normal, since the thyroid gland plays a role in the regulation of metabolism.
What are the causes of hypothyroidism?
In most cases, about 50%, hypothyroidism is due to autoimmune thyroiditis, which is also called lymphocytic or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and which is inherited. Between 40-50% of cases are caused by a degenerative pathology, idiopathic atrophy, that is, of unknown origin, of the thyroid gland.
Thyroiditis causes destruction of the gland tissue. In atrophy, this tissue is displaced by fatty tissue. One of the most rare causes of primary hypothyroidism is a tumor in the thyroid gland..
There is also secondary hypothyroidism, even less frequent, which is due to trauma, malformations, tumors, iodine deficiency or glucocorticoid excess. There is a congenital hypothyroidism that causes dwarfism.
How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
Symptoms such as those described can make us suspect that our dog suffers from hypothyroidism. The vet can confirm or rule out the disease performing a blood test. It is necessary to measure the total T4. It is the equilibrium dialysis method.
The problem is that a lower than normal level of this hormone does not always imply that the dog is hypothyroid. Due to this, it is recommended to resort to more specific blood tests carried out in laboratories, such as TSH stimulation test. An ultrasound of the thyroid gland may also be done.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
Hypothyroidism is a chronic disease that can be controlled by giving the dog a pill every day, since the treatment is for life. The dose required initially depends on the weight of the dog.
It is then adjusted, for which it is essential to regularly measure T4, at the start of treatment with a greater frequency. This medication usually manages to remit symptoms, including deafness.
Of course, to achieve this we have to scrupulously follow the veterinaryn’s instructions regarding treatment and follow-up guidelines. In this way, the long-term prognosis is good.