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What is Hypothyroidism?

Symptoms usually appear between 4 to 6 years of age, and include:

  • Thinning fur with areas of hair loss
  • Increased shedding
  • Dull coat
  • Thickening and darkening of the skin
  • Lethargy
  • Weight gain
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Hypothyroidism occurs when a dog’s body does not produce or secrete enough of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. In most cases, the hormone deficiency is caused by a genetic autoimmune disease. However it is also possible for a condition such as thyroid cancer to damage the thyroid gland and cause hypothyroidism.
  • The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 control the rate of metabolism in your dog. Therefore hypothyroidism causes your dog’s metabolic rate to slow down along with other organ functions.
  • Hypothyroidism is most common in medium and large breed dogs, and some breeds are particularly predisposed. Those breeds include the Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, and English Setter.
  • The symptoms of hypothyroidism are often mistaken for signs of aging. If you start noticing changes in your dog’s appearance or behavior -- regardless of their age -- you should contact your veterinarian so that they can test your dog for hypothyroidism.
  • Early detection can help to prevent complications associated with the condition, such as ear infections, skin infections, odor, nerve and muscle damage, swollen face, and thickened skin above the eyes.
  • Hypothyroidism cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Most dogs need to take medication indefinitely to regulate their system and reverse symptoms.
  • Because hypothyroidism is largely inherited, dogs diagnosed with the condition should not be bred. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) maintains a registry that identifies dogs who have been screened and diagnosed with the condition.
  • Most dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism require lifelong medication therapy with an oral replacement hormone like Soloxine.
  • If your dog is suffering complications caused by the condition, those complications will likely be treated by your veterinarian. For example, if a dog is having frequent ear infections they will be placed on a course of antibiotics.
  • One of the most important parts of treatment is monitoring the condition. At first your dog will need to see the vet once a month to have their hormone levels checked and to ensure that they aren’t receiving too much of the synthetic hormone, which can cause hyperthyroidism. Once symptoms begin to subside and your vet feels confident in your dog’s progress, they may suggest that you bring your dog in less regularly for a check-up.
  • Your pet’s activity level, appetite, and demeanor should begin to improve within one to two weeks of beginning medication.
  • After your dog starts medication, look out for any unusual symptoms such as hyperactivity, weight loss, increased thirst, increased urination, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, or difficulty breathing. This could mean that your dog is receiving too much of the synthetic thyroid hormone and is now suffering from hyperthyroidism. If you notice any of the above symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • If your dog is prescribed the proper dosage of medication, he/she should not experience any serious side effects and may return to normal in a matter of weeks. Some dogs do experience mild side effects, such as coughing, drowsiness, decreased appetite, and dry mouth. Even though these side effects are not likely to indicate a serious problem, you should inform your veterinarian. More serious side effects that require immedia

a PetPlus Member's story

Since I discovered that Maggie had Hypothyroidism, PetPlus has provided a good, reasonable source of her maintenance meds at a good price. Also, the ease of home delivery and the fact that the service works well with my vet have been very helpful. Maggie uses Soloxine to treat hypothyroidism. image description SAVED $290 in 1 month Jim + Maggie Walla, WA Read More

How PetPlus Can Help You

 
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Top Prescription Foods for Hypothyroidism

Diet can help combat low metabolic rates associated with thyroid deficiency.

 
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Top Prescription Medications for Hypothyroidism

Treat underactive thyroid glands that don't produce enough thyroid hormone.

 
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Top Vitamins and Supplements for Hypothyroidism

Vitamins and minerals can help maintain healthy matabolism and energy levels.

 
Treatment save $50

Professional Treatment for Hypothyroidism

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Professional Treatment for Hypothyroidism

Save 25% at over 4,000 veterinarians nationwide through Pet Assure. Simply show your PetPlus card at any participating vet to receive savings on office visits & exams, vaccines & shots, elective procedures (e.g., dental care), surgery (e.g., spaying & neutering, emergency surgery) and hospitalization (in Network).

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What To Expect

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    Prescription Medication

    Most dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism will need to take oral hormone replacement medication for the rest of their lives. Levothyroxine sodium mimics the effects of thyroxin, the T4 thyroid hormone, and is the drug often prescribed for hypothyroidism. A number of drug companies manufacture this drug, and you can find it sold under the names Soloxine, Levothyroxine Sodium (Generic), ThyroVet, ThyroKare, and Thyrosyn.

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    Food

    A common symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain, so you should ensure that your dog is eating a high quality diet, receiving the right portion size, and not being given table scraps. In addition, medications prescribed for hypothyroidism may cause your dog to lose their appetite. If this happens there is no reason to be alarmed, but you should still consult your veterinarian for advice.

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    Nonprescription Options

    For pet owners who prefer a holistic approach, thyroid supplementations such as Armour Thyroid, Thyro-Pet, and Westhroid can be tried. However, always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication.

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    Professional Treatment

    There is no cure for hypothyroidism, but it is possible to manage the condition with oral replacement hormones and regular visits to your veterinarian for hormone level monitoring.

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PetPlus is great because of its ease of delivery. It also works well with my vet.
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