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Hypo-thyroidism…in dogs

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Did you know that dogs can suffer from hypo-thyroid condition? Did you know that it is more common than you would think?

From the time we brought home Little Man, Big Girl seemed grumpy with him. I wrote it off to adjustment to a new puppy, who cannot help but be annoying and try the patience of a saint. But as he grew, and time passed, I found it odd that Big Girl still didn’t seem to adjust. She got along so well with our foster dog Jada, and so I was beginning to worry that she might not adjust at all.

Then one day I was walking both dogs and noticed from behind her back end looked a little, well, threadbare. Like she was losing hair. I observed her for the next week, and noticed that the skin around her neck was hard, like leather, and her breath was bad. Well, bad breath, you kind of expect that from a dog, but it was worse than it should have been. I began to pay attention to her movement, how much she slept, eating habits, coat shine and general disposition. Big Girl has been complimented on her soft and glossy black coat, sweet disposition and good naturedness, none of which she was showing an abundance of.

At the end of the week, I mentioned to my husband that something was just not right and I was going to take her in to the vet. We have a wonderful vet, who I met through the adoption of our Miss Maize, the first dog we adopted from the Humane Society after moving here. He was a veterinarian who volunteered to give the centers newly adopted pets a courtesy exam, and he has remained our vet for going on our fourth canine family member.

She and I arrived and dutifully she stepped on the scale. Holy Moly, I knew she looked a bit pudgy, but she was downright heavy! I explained to the vet that there was just something wrong with her. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but explained her symptoms and behavior. He drew blood and ran some tests, coming back with the diagnosis of Hypo-Thyroid. Her results showed no measurable sign of the right hormone. None. He gave her a prescription of a loading dose for 2 weeks, then 1 pill/day for the next month. I was to come back then, have her retested and adjust the dosage accordingly.

After one week on medication, I noticed a marked difference in her attitude. She suddenly had energy and started to tolerate Little Man. Then, slowly, her skin started to soften, her hair began to grow in, she increasingly actively played with Little Man, eventually running and playing chase. She went through a phase of skin shedding (which was annoying and a bit gross) as all that dead, hard skin sloughed off. She lost weight, and didn’t act as those she needed to eat as much. She became the dog I know her to be.

Why a post on this odd condition? Because I wonder how many people out there have dogs affected by a milder version of this condition. Dogs they have written off and resigned themselves to be crabby, lethargic, pudgy, with skin conditions. Just like with human medicine, sometimes vets can misdiagnose a condition. If your own pet shows some or all of these symptoms, I encourage you to explore the potential that they might be hypo-thyroid. My vet says this is a condition that is common in dogs. I saw my sweet baby girl go from the loving, fun and good natured, sweet heart to a dog that wanted nothing to do with Little Man or us. I have my Big Girl back, and that is a very good thing.

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(Miss Mia-Big Girl-in purple. Ruger-Little Man-in red)

 

 

 

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(my baby girl back to her old self!)

 

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(snow fun in the sun!)

2 thoughts on “Hypo-thyroidism…in dogs

  1. We rescued Greyhounds over the last 15 years and they are notorious for Hypothyroidism…something about the hormones and food they take when racing.

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    • I had never heard of it in dogs before, but it appears there are certain breeds who are more susceptible. Retrievers are one such breed. I wonder how many dog owners are unaware that their own pets might be suffering from this! That is why I was inspired to write about it! Thanks for the heads up on greyhounds Karen!

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