Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism is a common condition in dogs that results from a deficiency in thyroid hormones. It is most commonly associated with a low production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine (T4). If your canine companion is suffering from hypothyroidism, he or she may exhibit a variety of symptoms and require treatment.
Symptoms of Canine Hypothyroidism
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs are:
- Weight gain
- Excessive shedding and coat thinning
- Depression and lethargy
- Decreased appetite
- Dry or oily skin
- Hair loss
- Inflamed gums
- Irregular heat cycles
- Intolerance to cold
Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Autoimmune disorder (Hashimoto’s disease or lymphocytic thyroiditis)
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Genetic predisposition
- Iodine deficiency
- Surgical removal of the thyroid gland
Diagnosing Hypothyroidism in Dogs
If your veterinarian suspects that your canine companion is suffering from hypothyroidism, he or she will likely order a thyroid profile. This test looks at levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and free thyroxine (FT4).
Treating Hypothyroidism in Dogs
If your dog is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your veterinarian will likely prescribe a thyroid supplement. This medication, called levothyroxine, is a synthetic form of the T4 hormone and will help to restore normal thyroid levels. Your veterinarian will monitor your canine companion’s progress and may need to adjust the dosage over time.
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