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February 2003 Newsletter
Volume III Issue 2-03
Hypothyroidism in Dogs
The most common hormone problem encountered in dogs is hypothyroidism.
It results when the thyroid gland does not secrete an adequate quantity of
thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Many internal organs are affected, and the
resulting problem depends on which organs are most affected.
The thyroid gland is a small gland is located at the throat,
near what might be termed the
Adam's Apple. It has two lobes and can be felt with careful palpation. The
role of the thyroid gland is to take iodine and convert it into the 2 main
thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T4 and T3 then
circulates through the bloodstream and affect the metabolism of every cell
in the body. To control the level of these hormones the hypothalamus and pituitary
secrete compounds called releasing factors. In the case of the thyroid gland,
they secrete a releasing factory called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
It is the amount of TSH circulating in the blood stream that tells the thyroid
gland much thyroxine to secrete. In a refined feedback mechanism between the
hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid gland, the cells of the body get just
the right amount of T4 and T3.
Thyroxine affects many internal organs so a deficiency can
have various symptoms. Classic symptoms include mental dullness, lethargy,
obesity and heat seeking behavior,
although many hypothyroid dogs do not have any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis
is beneficial because a dog can have this disease and not show symptoms for
years. In every disease that is treated, the sooner treatment is started,
Hair is thin along the truck and dull
Hair easily fall out
Shedding is often
Skin is cool to touch
Skin be darker than normal and have a leathery feel
Skin maybe greasy
Inflamed due to secondary bacterial or fungal infections
Loss of smell and taste
Reduction in tear production in the eyes
Constipation and vomiting
Abnormalities in heart strength, rate and rhythm
Abnormal heat cycles
Low Sperm count
Once diagnosis is determined for hypothyroidism, supplementation
with thyroxine is treatment for life as prescribed through your veterinarian.
Medicine is given every 12 hours. A thyroid level needs to be checked initially
at one month to make minor adjustments. The thyroid pill should be given 4-6
hours prior to recheck blood test. It is then checked every 6 months in order
to refine the dose, because the body does change in the amount of thyroxin
released by the thyroid gland. As pets age, their cells vary in their need
In the first week of treatment many dogs will become more
alert and more active. Within a month improvement in problems related to metabolic
change will be noted and within 4-6 weeks, skin improvement will be noticed.
Overdose can include excess drinking, urinating and restlessness and increased
appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian
In Memory Of Pets In the News:
In Memory of Pets was honored by an article in the "New
Hampshire Sunday Foster's Citizen":
always your Veterinarian is the best source of information and
treatment for questions or problems that may exist.
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