What is Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Located in the throat bellow the larynx, the function of the thyroid is to produce hormones that regulate the metabolism. When the endocrine organ fails to deliver the necessary hormones to the body, whether because of old age or atrophy, the patient will most likely suffer a series of unpleasant symptoms. The condition is quite common in man’s best friend, the humble canine.

The chronic disease is most frequently seen in large, middle-aged dogs of any breed. However, a few of the larger breeds, such as Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers, and Irish Setters are disproportunately affected by it. Let us take a moment to review the most common symptoms of the disorder.

Most dogs that are diagnosed with hypothyroidism suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy and listlessness
  • Mental dullness
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Excessive shedding
  • Dandruff
  • Oily skin
  • Frequent ear infections
  •  Extreme sensitivity to the cold
  • Pimples or acne

In some cases the dog’s gastrointestinal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular systems may be compromised, which increases the risk of the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Poor coordination
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)

Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

As we mentioned, hypothyroidism occurs most often in middle-aged, larger dogs, but it may also strike canines that are of medium size. It can and often does result in behavioral changes and a decline in physical activity. There is no known cure for the chronic condition, which means it will affect a pooch for his entire life. If you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is imperative that you take him to see his veterinarian.

Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Because there are so many symptoms that are common to other diseases, it can be difficult for even an experienced veterinarian to diagnose the disease. The most effective way to make the correct diagnosis is with blood screening and a full physical. All dogs that suffer from hypothyroidism have depressed hormone levels. That said, a low-normal level does not necessarily mean that your dog has the disease, which means he should not be treated for it.  Overtreatment and improper diagnoses are not at all uncommon.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Although it is a permanent condition, hypothyroidism can be managed effectively with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Most dogs respond well to the treatment and are able to lead healthy, happy and full lives, as long their owners provide daily medications and closely monitor their pet’s appearance and behavior.

Medications for Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Soloxine® Tablets

soloxine, levothyroxine for hypothyroidism in dogs

Soloxine is available at VetRxDirect.

A popular prescription medication prescribed specially for hypothyroidism in dogs is Soloxine. Sold in tablet form, levothyroxine directly treats the problem of the disease, i.e., low thyroid levels.  Dog owners must remember to always read the label carefully and to administer Levothyroxine as directed by their veterinarian.

Canine Thyroid Chewables

Because most dogs like to chew on things, Levothyroxine is also available in chewable tablets. Safe for dogs of all ages and breeds, the medication must be administered at least once a day, or as prescribed by your dog’s doctor. If possible, try to give him his medication at around the same time each day. And never give him more than directed and double the dose if you happen to miss a day.

generic Levothyroxine tablets

Often the most inexpensive option, generic tablets are no different from those sold in fancy packages by major drug makers, which makes them a popular alternative. After all, hypothyroidism is permanent and when prescription levothyroxine must be administered for several years, the costs can really add up.

Where to Find Levothyroxine for Dogs?

Since it is such a common disorder, most veterinarians keep Levothyroxine on hand.  But veterinarian’s don’t normally offer deep discounts or have sales.

Properly licensed and accredited online pet pharmacies in the U.S. can legally sell and ship medications to your door. All they need is a prescription from your veterinarian after you order your pet’s medication online.

VetRxDirect Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

Update Monday, 11/26/2012:

The coupon codes MEOWABLES and WOOFABLES have been extending throughout the week. They now expire Friday at 5PM, CST. Visit VetRxDirect and save 5%, plus receive a free treat for your pet!

We will be closed tomorrow in observance of Thanksgiving, but visit us after the holiday for VetRxDirect’s huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales!

VetRxDirect’s Black Friday super sale kicks off this Friday, November 23rd. Enjoy an early bird special of 15% off on all orders placed between 5am and 9am CST. This is our deepest discount of the year!

Coupon code THANKYOU15 * saves you 15% 5am to 9am Central Standard Time, November 23rd.

The deals do not end there! Enjoy 5% off and FREE STANDARD SHIPPING on ALL orders placed between 9am and 5pm CST on Black Friday, November 23rd and Cyber Monday, November 26th. Plus, during these business hours, we are throwing in a free Woofables or Meowables present for your dog or cat with every order!

Coupon code WOOFABLES * saves you 5% and your DOG gets a special treat.

Coupon code MEOWABLES * saves you 5% and your CAT gets a special treat.

*Online use only. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Coupons are only active during the times listed above and cannot be applied over the phone.

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving from the VetRxDirect Team!

Pets and Cancer – What you Should Know

Losing a beloved pet to cancer is an all-too-common occurrence. The disease is the leading cause of death in both cats and dogs — and therefore the leading cause of heartache for pet owners.

Cancer, which can be found in any part of the body, can be tricky to diagnose and treat in dogs and cats. Common types of cancer in pets include lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, neoplasia, and sarcoma.  There is hope. You can take preventative measures to protect your furry best friend. If your pet does get cancer, treatment is possible in some cases. Read on to learn more….

Can I prevent cancer in my pet?

It’s impossible to prevent all cancers, but there are steps you can take to reduce the incidence of some forms of the disease:

  •  Don’t expose your pet to cigarette smoke – they’re susceptible to the carcinogens in smoke just like humans
  •  Don’t expose your pet to recently chemically-treated lawns and yards. Some types of sprays and granules may pose an increased risk to cancer.
  •  Spay and neuter your pets early to reduce the chance of cancer in the reproductive organs
  •  Apply sunscreen to pets with fair and exposed skin to protect them from skin cancer

If your pet has a mass on her skin or is exhibiting any of the warning signs listed below, don’t wait to seek treatment, see your veterinarian right away.

What are the warning signs of cancer?

Some cancers can grow without any outward signs and others cause obvious symptoms. If your pet exhibits the following symptoms, see your veterinarian for a full exam. As with humans, early detection is key.

  •  Loss of weight
  •  Loss of appetite
  •  Persistent swelling or stiffness
  •  Difficulty with body functions: breathing, eating, urinating or defecating
  •  Wounds that won’t heal

Are there treatments for pets with cancer?

Yes! Pets benefit from the same types of cancer treatments humans do. The kind of treatment a pet needs depends on the form and stage of the cancer. The first step is to have your veterinarian evaluate your pet and develop a treatment plan and goals. Outcomes vary — some treatments can cure the disease, others just ease pain and discomfort and help prolong the life of your loved one.

The following treatments may be used alone or combined:

  •  Surgery — Removing a cancerous tumor is often the first line of defense for many cancer treatments
  •  Chemotherapy — Some cancers will respond to chemotherapy, which attacks cancer cells with powerful medicines. Pets often experience fewer side effects of chemotherapy than humans do.
  • Brand name Leukeran (chlorambucil) tablets are used to treat various types of tumors. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, is used to help reduce cancer pain and inhibit or prevent development of cancer cells.
  •  Radiation – A powerful beam of radiation can destroy cancer cells that cannot be removed by surgery.

You’ll also have to discuss your role in your pet’s treatment plan with your veterinarian. Cancer treatment requires many appointments, a lot of hands-on care, and considerable cost. You must weigh all of those factors as you decide what is best for your pet and your family.

Does your pet have cancer? What has been your experience? We value your thoughts, as do our other readers.




Pets Get Diabetes Too

Among the many diseases that we humans share with our pets one of the most common is diabetes mellitus, or just diabetes. Sadly, as with people, diabetes is in the rise in our pets too.

As you probably know, diabetes is a disorder in the way the body uses food for energy due to a lack of insulin, which is a hormone that helps your body break down glucose found in food. If your pet lacks enough insulin, produced by the pancreas, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream and that results in diabetes.

What are the risk factors for diabetes in pets?

Just as some humans are more prone to diabetes, so are some pets.  But you can manage some of the risk factors, like obesity, for your pet. Other risk factors are simply genetic.

Risk factors for canine diabetes:

  •  Obesity
  •  Age – Older dogs are more likely to have canine diabetes
  •  Breed type – Some breeds are prone to the disease including: cocker spaniels, dachshunds, poodles, dobermann pinschers, schnauzers, golden retrievers, and terriers.

Risk factors for feline diabetes:

  •  Obesity
  •  Age – Older cats are more likely to have feline diabetes
  •  Genetics
  •  Other health conditions including hyperthyriodism and chronic pancreatitis

How do I know if my pet has diabetes?

Since your dog or cat can’t tell you how he or she is feeling and blood tests aren’t part of a pet owner’s normal routine, watch for these common symptoms of diabetes:

  •  Extreme thirst
  •  Increased urination
  •  Change in appetite
  •  Lack of energy or lethargy
  •  Thinning or dull fur

If your pet exhibits some or all of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian right away to get an exam for your dog or cat evaluated. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical in avoiding complications related to diabetes.

If my pet has diabetes, are there treatments that help?

The good news is that with the right treatment and care, many diabetic dogs and cats enjoy long lives and good quality of life too. If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan that may include:

  •  Dietary changes to manage weight and energy needs
  •  Daily insulin injections to manage insulin levels
  •  Regular exercise
ProZinc for Diabetic Cats

ProZinc is Available for Purchase at VetRxDirect

At VetRxDirect we stock a full range of medications and products for diabetic cats and dogs and we’re happy to work closely with you and your veterinarian to help you manage your pet’s disease.

Does your dog or cat have diabetes? Is there a particular medicine or product that  worked well for your diabetic pet? Please share your experience with us – we value your input.

In good health,