Your best pal is more tired than usual, having issues with their skin or hair, or has sudden weight gain – you might be wondering what’s going on with your dog. Have you ever considered that they may be going through some medical issues? Symptoms such as these may mean your dog is experiencing hypothyroidism, also known as a decreased production of thyroid hormones.  Find out more by reading below:

What is Hypothyroidism?

Humans and dogs both have thyroids. Thyroids are in the neck and are responsible for producing hormones, making sure your cells function correctly, and regulating your metabolism. Hormones are needed to regulate sleep, heart rate, and mood levels. The thyroid needs to work in balance – too many hormones produced can result in diarrhea, increased heart rate, and anxiety. If not enough hormones are produced, it can result in increased fatigue and skin irritations.

The exact cause of hypothyroidism is unknown, but vets can treat the symptoms of it. Dogs are usually diagnosed with hypothyroidism between 4 and 10 years old. There are no known genetic causes. Medium to large breeds are more at risk for hypothyroidism as well as dogs that had cancer.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Dogs with hypothyroidism can exhibit signs in various organ systems since thyroid hormones impact almost every cell in the body. Thyroid cancer normally develops slowly, making it easier to ignore the early warning signs. Hypothyroidism often manifests as the following indications in dogs:

  • Hair loss or thinning around a dog’s tail or collar area
  • Dull, dry, and brittle undercoat
  • Ear infection that may cause red, swollen, and stinky ears
  • Weight gain
  • The dog may feel sluggish, tired, and sleep a lot because of a decreased activity level
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Large, palpable masses on the neck

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’re worried about your dog and notice any symptoms, consult your vet. Your vet can run blood work, urine and cholesterol tests to see if your dog has hypothyroidism. Consult your veterinarian if your dog displays any of the above-mentioned symptoms. First, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination.

Your veterinarian will look specifically at thyroxine levels when measuring thyroid hormone levels in the blood. Hypothyroidism is indicated by decreased levels. It is possible, however, that the levels are normal in moderate and early-stage hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can’t be cured but it can be managed with an oral thyroid supplement. Levothyroxine, an oral synthetic thyroid hormone replacement, is the most prescribed medication. Follow the vet’s instructions to make sure your dog is getting the proper help. If your dog develops more severe signs, consult your veterinarian.

Please see your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s reaction to any medication or hypothyroidism in general. Call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 with any questions or concerns.