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Hypothyroidism in dogs… Symptoms, treatments and costs!

This infamous issue doesn’t just hurt us – it also affects our poor little pooches, too!  Which is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what hypothyroidism is and hopefully shed some light on what it would be like to own a dog that is suffering from this condition.

After all…

Because our dogs can’t speak and tell us what’s wrong with them, it’s up to us as loving and responsible owners to do our research so that we can be better parents and friends to them.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Hypothyroidism in dogs

Hypothyroidism in dogs is a condition that is caused by an inability to either produce or respond to the natural hormones being created by the pituitary gland. Sometimes this is caused by a congenital or inherited condition, while in other situations, this condition may be acquired, usually as your pup reaches middle age.

The Thyroid hormones…

play a huge part in the smooth functioning of the endocrine system. This is the system of glands and nerves around your body that are responsible for many areas of bodily functioning, such as:

  • Growth,
  • Sexual functioning,
  • And the ability to stave off hormone related diseases.

Which means that…

A dog suffering from Hypothyroidism is at a serious disadvantage in terms of well-being – but it is rather easily treatable thanks to the human version of this disease.

You see…

Once Scientists figured out how to cure this condition in humans it was only a small step towards treating it in our canine compatriots too. Nowadays, Hypothyroidism simply requires a daily or twice-daily dose of a hormone drug that will replace the damaged hormone levels in your dog’s blood.

In fact…

It is very rare that a vet will seek any sort of surgical reparation for this condition, but they may still want to do so if they think the deficiency is being caused by something more sinister.

It is worth bearing in mind that…

Although the symptoms may originally appear mild, it is only a matter of time before they progress. Although this is not considered the truly dangerous disease it once was, and if left unchecked it can do severe damage and may even result in death.

So…

Once you determine that your dog is suffering from hypothyroidism, you’re going to want to make sure that you get treatment sorted out ASAP so that your dog doesn’t develop any serious medical consequences.

But before we get…

Ahead of ourselves, let first describe what hypothyroidism is and attempt to explain how it can happen to your pet.

Hypothyroidism defined

Hypothyroidism basically means that your pet is struggling to maintain thyroid hormone levels in its body. This lack of hormone coming from the pituitary gland means that the body cannot run at optimum levels.

Now a dog…

Can be born with this condition or can acquire it in later life, usually through the inheritance of some other condition. Lymphocytic Thyroiditis is one such disease. In this scenario inflammation of the pituitary gland causes a lack of thyroid hormone production leading to Hypothyroidism.

The Thyroid Glands can also…

Be adversely affected in Cushing’s disease, and can be subject to autoimmune Thyroiditis – a horrific variation whereby the body interprets thyroxine as a threat to itself and attacks the molecules.

Clinical signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs

Clinical signs that might lead to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism are:

  • Hair loss,
  • Unexplained weight gain,
  • Anemia,
  • Low blood sugar levels,
  • Hypercholesterolaemia,
  • Loss of libido,
  • Intolerance to cold
  • And in some cases, sudden bouts of uncharacteristic aggression!

And while…

These symptoms might appear only mildly irritating at first, but time will progress the symptoms until they become unmanageable, should the condition remain untreated.

Hypothyroidism treatment in dogs

The first thing your vet will most likely want to do is to perform a series of blood tests aimed at diagnosing for certain. Additionally, it is highly likely that they will want to monitor the TSH levels being produced by the gland in order to confirm their theory.

Then, once this disease…

Has been properly diagnosed you will be in for a lifetime of further treatment, usually in medicine format. The alternatives, however, do not bear considering.

Breeds known to be affected by this condition

Some breeds known to be affected by this disease are:

  • The Afghan Hound
  • The Airedale Terrier
  • The Boxer
  • The Chinese Char Pei
  • The Chow Chow
  • The Cocker Spaniel
  • The Dachshund
  • The Dobermann Pinscher
  • The English Bulldog
  • The Golden Retriever
  • The Great Dane
  • The Irish Setter
  • The Miniature Schnauzer

Medications used to treat hypothyroidism in dogs

Once diagnosed, your vet will prescribe medication that will respond to your pet’s individual needs. If your pet cannot absorb the thyroid hormone it will be medicated in response to that. If your dog isn’t producing enough TSH then supplements are readily available. Only in the very rarest of cases will the vet consider a surgical option but when they do this will become pricey.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have hypothyroidism (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

Because…

The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Cost of medication…

For Hypothyroidism will be around $50 a trip to the vet.  And while this may not seem like a lot, over time it can become quite expensive.

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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