Canine hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormone produced by a dog’s thyroid gland. It generally appears in older dogs, either middle-aged or elderly, and certain large breeds are prone to developing the condition. This hormone imbalance affects the metabolism of the dog, and as a result, can impact multiple body symptoms. Canine hypothyroidism can be successfully treated.
1. Watch for symptoms. Common symptoms of canine hypothyroidism are weight gain, lethargy and lack of energy, hair loss, dry or problem skin, cold intolerance, ear infections and behavioral changes.
2. Visit the vet. A veterinarian will take blood samples to measure the amount of thyroid hormone in the dog’s body. The vet will be able to determine if the dog has hypothyroidism.
3. Administer the medication. Canine hypothyroidism can be successfully treated with a daily dose of prescribed thyroid hormone. This usually comes in pill form and must be administered for the rest of the dog’s life. Always administer the medication as prescribed by the veterinarian.
4. Monitor the dog. The vet will usually like to retest the blood levels to verify the dosage. Some dogs require only small doses; others might require an increased dosage. Watch the dog for improvements in symptoms, but be aware that some symptoms make take weeks to improve. Hair loss may take much longer to improve.
5. Retest the blood levels regularly. The vet may want to recheck the levels annually or twice a year to maintain the appropriate dosage.