Dachshunds are one of several breeds prone to thyroid problems.
Thyroid conditions are not generally life-threatening but can decrease your dog’s quality of life. Natural remedies are becoming popular in improving the thyroid’s function because they do not cause hypothyroidism as conventional treatments sometimes do. The thyroid gland is two small butterfly-shaped lobes located in the dog’s neck. It serves many purposes, but is best known for regulating the dog’s metabolic rate.
Symptoms include hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, cold intolerance (such as seeking out warm places in which to sleep), chronic ear infections and personality changes—including increased aggressive behavior and depression. Lethargy can include a lack of interest in play, frequent napping, and tiring on long walks.
While all dogs can have thyroid problems, the condition is most common in Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Greyhounds, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels and Airedale Terriers. It is rare for toy or miniature breeds to experience thyroid issues.
Your veterinarian will determine if your dog has a thyroid condition by doing an examination. The veterinarian will look for clinical signs of the condition and ask you questions about your dog’s health and behavior. If a thyroid condition is suspected, the doctor will order blood work to test your dog’s levels of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine). The blood test is simple to perform and inexpensive.
Conventional treatment may include giving your dog synthetic thyroid hormones and/or performing surgery. A side effect of the hormones is that too much can produce hypothyroidism. In surgery, the thyroid may be removed. With either approach, or as a possible stand-alone treatment, your veterinarian may recommend the use of herbs and other holistic and non-conventional treatments.
With a holistic treatment, you should examine your dog’s overall health. Ensure that she is getting enough exercise and that you are feeding her a healthy, nutritious diet. Discuss with your veterinarian or consult a holistic veterinarian about the potential benefits of adding herbs to her diet that may aid in improving thyroid function. Bladderwack or kelp is sometimes prescribed for its ability to control an overactive thyroid. Kelp has been used in human medicine for thousands of years. Astragalus is a Chinese remedy used to strengthen the endocrine system, regulate blood pressure and blood sugars, and help the body fight diseases. Ginseng addresses fatigue, helps the body withstand physical stress and boosts the immune system. Urtrica Urens is a circulatory stimulant that helps regulate metabolism, thyroid and adrenal function and is a source of minerals and vitamins A, B and C.