The thyroid gland is a small gland located under the skin at the center of the neck. The thyroid gland is an intricate part of your dog's endocrine system. It produces thyroid hormone which helps to regulate your dogs metabolic system and is important for proper hair growth as well as other functions. The Cause: Hypothyroidism is the result of having too little circulating thyroid hormone. The most common cause is “Idiopathic Hypothyroidism” which means there is no identifiable biological reason why the thyroid gland is not working properly. Another cause is “Thyroiditis” which is an inflammatory condition that damages the thyroid gland. This condition can be familial (runs in related dogs).
-hair loss, often over the back and flank areas, that is not associated with scratching -dry scaly skin, dull brittle hair, oily skin -lethargy, weakness -weight gain even on a limited diet -may be more intolerant of cold and seek out warm places
Diagnosis: A simple blood test to measure the level of blood thyroid hormone (T4) and a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level will diagnose the disease.
Treatment: This disease can be controlled by giving a medication that is available in tablet form. This tablet will replace the thyroid hormone that your dog is no longer able to produce on its own. A follow up blood test is usually required in 4-6 weeks to assess the level of hormone in the blood and the medication will be adjusted if necessary. You should see an improvement in your dogs overall health within 2-4 weeks and an improvement in your dogs coat within 1-6 months, depending on the rate of new hair growth in your dog.
Hypothyroidism is a debilitating disease if not treated. However, with proper treatment, your dog can live a long and healthy life.