Canine Hypothyroidism

a doctor holding a sign that says Canine Hypothyroidism

Canine Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as lethargy, weight gain, dull coat and skin lesions. It can also cause other conditions such as infertility, hair loss and poor body temperature regulation.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. In some cases, it can be caused by a tumor or other disease of their thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Canine Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary depending on the severity and cause of their disorder, but some common signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Weight gain
  • Dull coat
  • Hair loss
  • Skin lesions
  • Infertility
  • Poor body temperature regulation

Diagnosing Canine Hypothyroidism

Diagnosing hypothyroidism is based on a combination of clinical signs and laboratory tests. The veterinarian will first perform a physical exam, taking note of any skin lesions or changes in their body temperature. They might check your dog’s pulse and respiration rate as well as other indicators of thyroid function.

A blood test is then used to measure the amount of thyroxine and other thyroid hormones in your dog’s system. If their hormone levels are low, then it’s easy to diagnose them with hypothyroidism.

Stages of Canine Hypothyroidism

Stages of hypothyroidism can be split into three distinct phases.

Stage 1

The first, or early, phase is associated with a decreased production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. This leads to the development of many of the symptoms mentioned above.

Stage 2

The second stage is known as the middle phase and involves an increased production of thyroxine, which helps to alleviate some of their symptoms.

Stage 3

Finally, the third stage is known as the late phase and involves a decreased production of thyroxine once again.

Treatment for Canine Hypothyroidism

The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy. This involves giving your dog a synthetic thyroid hormone, usually in pill form, to replace their missing thyroxine. The dose and frequency of the medication will vary depending on the case.

In some cases, other treatments can be used alongside hormone replacement therapy to help manage symptoms like skin lesions or hair loss.

Preventing Canine Hypothyroidism

Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is not always preventable because it can be caused by an autoimmune disorder or other diseases. 

Some measures can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition.

  • Regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor for early signs of the condition.
  • Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet and giving them plenty of exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoiding the use of certain chemicals, such as flea and tick treatments, that can disrupt thyroid function.
  • Early identification and treatment of any underlying diseases or conditions that could lead to hypothyroidism.