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
- 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:
- Poor coordination
- 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
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.