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2016 Specialty



Hypothyroidism in Dogs
There are 2 main types of hypothyroidism: primary and secondary. The primary hypothyroidism doesn't have a determined cause and it may be inherited and is more frequently seen in Schnauzers (especially giant ones), Toy Dogs, Terriers or German Shepherds.
An iodine deficiency may also lead to hypothyroidism; dogs that are more prone to iodine deficiency include Schnauzers and Boxers.
Secondary hypothyroidism is the type of disease that is caused by a tumor or growth that affects the thyroid gland. This is rare, but may affect all breeds, especially Boxers, Golden Retrievers or Beagles.
  • Symptoms and Types—The hypothyroidism will manifest through physical and behavioral symptoms such as:
    • Dry, flaky skin
    • Hyperpigmentation or dark patches on the surface of the skin
    • Weight gain or weight loss
    • Hypotension and lowered pulse
    • The dog will be cold and will require a warmer room or extra blankets
    • Constipation
    • Dehydration cause by the fact that the dog drinks fewer fluids
    • Lethargy
    • Depression
  • Diagnosis—Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed through blood tests that will reveal a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. The vet may also measure the dog's heart rate and perform other tests to determine if there the lack of thyroid hormones has caused any damages in the dog's organism.
    The vet will also establish if the hypothyroidism is primary or secondary.
  • Treatment—Primary hypothyroidism can be managed with medication which should be administered on a daily basis. The thyroid hormone may be replaced by L-thyroxine, which is available as a liquid, tablet or a chewable medication. The dosage of hormones should be changed and the condition of the dog must be permanently monitored.
    If the condition is severe, surgery may be recommended.
  • Prevention—There are currently no known preventative measures for this medical condition.

Other health problems can occur in your Maltese. If you notice anything unusual with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This webpage is for general information only and is not intended to be a medical guide.

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