What is Canine Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland consists of two lobes located at the base of the neck. This gland produces thyroxine, a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolic rate -that is the rate at which it burns calories. When thyroxine is not produced in sufficient quantity a number of things happen, such as weight gain, changes to the hair and skin, and infertility.
Most cases of hypothyroidism stem from the dog’s own immune system attacking thyroid gland tissue. This condition is called autoimmune thyroiditis. Common hypothyroidism is further broken down into two types, lymphocytic thyroiditis and idiopathic thyroid atrophy. In both cases, the gland fails to produce enough of the hormone, thyroxine.
Canine Hypothyroidism & Skin Problems
Adequate levels of thyroid hormone are necessary for hair to grow. When hormone levels are low, hair growth sparsely over the lumbar or back area equally on both sides. The back of the rear legs is also commonly affected. The pet’s hair coat is often scruffy, flaky and dull, and the undercoat and finer body hairs are lacking. Occasionally, the tail may look like a rat’s tail – bald and hairless. An important clue pointing to thyroid deficiency is that this hair loss is not itchy as it would be from fleas, allergic skin or infectious skin disease.
Hypothyroid dogs commonly have excess black pigment in the skin of their groin. This pigment results in a condition called canine acanthosis nigricans. Sometimes this pigment is present over much of the body and the skin becomes oily and thickened.
Broken toenails and toenail infections are common.
Hair coat color may change.
Other Symptoms of Canine Hypothyroidism
Other symptoms of sluggish thyroid function are seen occasionally and with a number of diseases that are not related to the thyroid gland. They include mental dullness or depression, cold intolerance, slow heart rate, constipation, anemia, muscle weakness and atrophy, nerve disturbances, edema or swelling, stunted growth, and slowed clotting of the blood. Hypothyroid dogs have more than their fair share of joint pain/swelling and, ear and skin infections. Lethargic behavior – such as increased sleeping, less play activity and easy fatigue may also indicate thyroid disease.
Canine Hypothyroidism Treatment
Canine hypothyroidism is conventionally treated with daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone. Regular blood tests are required to determine the correct dosage. Excessive synthetic thyroid hormone can cause agitation, excessive thirst and diarrhea.
Natural Support For Canine Hypothyroidism
Nature’s Herbs Thyroid Boost: Helps pets with underactive thryoids to achieve better thyroid function. For cats and dogs that are sluggish, have poor hair coat, are cold and sleek and tend to be overweight.
Pet Wellbeing Thyroid Support Silver: Natural herbs to assist in the maintenance of thyroid hormone levels. Supports adrenal glands, immune system and can help peripheral body systems that are affected by the thyroid gland.