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Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

hyperthyroidism in dogs

Thyroid issues can affect dogs just as they do in humans. If you have noticed your dog is losing weight despite him eating everything you put in front of him, you might want to consult your vet and ask about the possibility of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism in dogs can occur in any breed of dog and will need expert treatment as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll explore the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs, the treatment involved and how you can ensure your dog gets the best care possible.

What is Hyperthyroidism in Dogs?

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the body starts overproducing the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. This hormone is responsible for increasing your dog’s metabolism and causes no problems when produced at normal levels. When there is too much thyroxine being produced, this can lead in your dog’s metabolism rocketing to a very high level and this, in turn, can result in weight loss, diarrhea, anxiety and a host of other symptoms.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?

Thyroid issues in dogs can occur at any age but are more common in older and middle-aged dogs. Here are the most common signs and symptoms of this condition:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite but no weight gain
  • Matted coat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased urine production
  • Increased thirst
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • A rapid heart rate
  • An enlarged thyroid gland that can be felt as a lump in the neck
  • Hyperactivity

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

When your vet examines your dog, the examination will usually involve palpation of the thyroid gland. This gland becomes enlarged in cases of hyperthyroidism and the size of the gland will help your vet to decide on the best course of treatment. A standard examination for hyperthyroidism will also include a complete blood count, a chemical blood profile and an analysis of your dog’s urine. Your vet will be looking for a high concentration of thyroxine or T4 as it is also called. In some cases, the level of T4 may be within a normal range and this can make diagnosis a little tricky. In these cases, the vet will usually call you back for further blood tests.

When determining the best course of treatment for your dog, the size of your dog’s thyroid gland will be a large factor. If the condition is being caused by a thyroid tumor, your vet may suggest radiation therapy or chemotherapy to combat the tumor. Removal of the thyroid gland may also be an option and your vet will discuss this with you so that you can work towards the most suitable treatment for your pet. If a tumor is not involved, your vet will prescribe medications that will help to get your dog’s hyperthyroidism under control.

Aftercare – What to Expect

Once your dog’s treatment has started, your vet will usually ask to reexamine your dog every two weeks for the first three months of treatment. These follow-up appointments will involve a complete blood count to analyze the concentration of T4. If the T4 levels are not reducing, your vet will adjust the medication to bring the hormone down into the low-normal range.

If your dog has had surgery to remove the thyroid gland, your vet will ask you to make follow-up appointments so that they can observe your dog’s progress and physical recovery from the operation. Some risks following surgery include low levels of calcium in the blood and paralysis of the voice box and your vet will want to keep a close eye on your dog so that these conditions can be identified and treated as quickly as possible. During the first three to six weeks following surgery, your vet will also measure thyroid hormone levels to ensure they are within the normal range.

Get the Very Best Care For Your Dog

Hyperthyroidism in dogs needs to be treated as quickly as possible with using the most suitable treatment plan. If you are worried about unexpected pet care costs, taking out a pet insurance plan with can help to put those worries to rest. With the right insurance plan, your vet bills will be covered and you can arrange the best care for your pet without any concerns about unexpected or escalating expenses.


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