Hypothyroidism in dogs is an endocrine disorder that is a very common and frequent hormonal disorder that will also affect your entire dogs system.
In fact, if you have sudden behavior changes in your dog, you need to check their thyroid for hypothyroidism.
The warning signs and symptoms are numerous, and all dogs can develop this condition, although some are more prone than others.
Most of us rarely think about our glands, let alone the glands in our dogs, but the glands of the endocrine system.
The hormones that they will release, or not release, will have some type of influence on almost every organ.
They will also have an effect on every cell and functioning part of the body, including your canine friends body.
The endocrine system is the instrument that is responsible for controlling growth and development, metabolism, and tissue functions.
It also helps with the reproductive and sexual functions, and even mood and behavioral changes in your dog.
It is in charge.
It controls their body processes, and is critical that it operates properly.
Hypothyroidism in dogs is a condition where there is too little thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
The thyroid gland, which produces the thyroid hormones, is basically under active, as opposed to hyperthyroid disease where the thyroid is overactive.
Although it is not a life threatening disease it is a disorder that can cause your pet not to live a healthy and vigorous life.
However, as with any type of disease or disorder in your pet, building their immune system and than maintaining it can help counter the affects of this disease.
Iodine can help as it is critical in the nutritional support of thyroid functions, and the hypothyroid functions can be affected by too little or too much iodine.
A good multivitamin for your dog, especially in the liquid form for better absorption, will provide adequate iodine.
Vitamin E assists in the absorption of iodine, and than facilitates selenium metabolism and is a critical component of a normal thyroid.
However, vitamin E without selenium may deplete the body of selenium and contribute to the problem.
The B class of vitamins which include Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Niacin (B5) are all essential in energy production as well as the several functions in the nervous system, as well as wound healing.
All three vitamins can assist your pet with building their systems and fighting this condition.
The thyroid gland naturally produces the thyroid hormones that are critical for your dog’s metabolic rate.
The speed in which the body will convert energy from nutrients into energy in your dog’s body.
This condition slows this process down.
As a result of this slowing process, your dog’s cells will not convert this energy into usable fuel for their body as quickly as it used too.
So what all does this actually mean?
Hypothyroidism in dogs causes a decreased cell function, and there will start to be a number of changes in your dog.
Almost fifty percent of all dogs affected with this disease will start to gain weight which is the first sign, because there will be no real changes in their diet.
This disease also causes about one third of the affected dogs to become very tired to the point of being lethargic, and their mental skills will also slow down.
The skin producing and hair producing cells will slow down which will mean less hair growth, actual hair loss, and your dog may also start to actually get a dandruff type of condition.
With hypothyroidism in dogs some of the first signs outside of the listlessness will be baldy spots on your dog’s truck and especially the hind legs.
Watch the tail very closely as well, as this condition may reduce the hair on their tail to just some small patches.
Some other conditions to watch with hypothyroidism in dogs will be a sudden and than reoccurring skin infection as well as a sudden unpleasant odor.
Also watch their eyes very closely, as drooping eyelids are also a revealing sign that your dog has this ailment.
This disease will also naturally take what used to be a dog that loved to go for a walk, run, or just in general like to exercise, to suddenly have a very low tolerance for any type of exercise.
In some of the very extreme cases, some dogs may experience seizures, although it is not common, and they become infertile.
All or these warning signs may be present, or there may just be a few of them that surface, as it will vary from dog to dog.
None the less, you should immediately contact your veterinarian to get your dog examined.
The causes of hypothyroidism in dogs, in almost ninety percent of the cases, are due to some type of an immune disorder.
Most immune disorders are the result of your dog’s immune system attacking its own thyroid gland.
When this happens, it will eventually cause the destruction of the thyroid, which sets off all of the symptoms.
There are also certain breeds, some because of genetics that are more prone to this disease.
Doberman Pincher, Great Danes, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Cocker Spaniels are the breeds most commonly affected.
Diagnosis of hypothyroidism in dogs is usually a simple process of measuring thyroid-hormone levels in the blood.
However Cushing disease, overactive adrenal glands, and some medications such as cortisone, can cause an inaccurate diagnosis.
By far and away the most accurate test is the TSH test, or the thyroid stimulating hormone test.
Although very accurate, it is also quit expense.
Newer tests are available and will combine different levels of thyroid hormones known as T4, and a specific thyroid hormone, known as Free T4, as well as the level of TSH in your dog’s blood.
Treatment of hypothyroidism in dogs by most veterinarians will be the prescribing of a supplemental thyroid hormone, which has to be administered orally and daily.
Once treatment begins, your dog will start to become its old, playful self.
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