Thyroid Gland Disorder
In Dogs And Cats

A Thyroid gland disorder produces hormones that affect the body’s metabolism, growth and development.

The two most important hormones are tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine or T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

There are two conditions caused by a thyroid-gland disorder hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is more common in cats and is caused by an overactive thyroid-gland.

Hypothyroidism, which is more common in dogs, is caused by an under active thyroid gland that is not producing enough hormones resulting in decreased metabolism– either from an autoimmune response or atrophy of the thyroid gland.

Some dogs have a genetic pre-disposition to the disease.

Breeds that are more commonly affected include Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Greyhounds, Irish setters, Dachshunds, and Cocker Spaniels. Hypothyroidism is rare in toy and miniature breeds of dogs.

Over 80% of hypothyroid dogs show some kind of skin abnormality such as thickening in some areas, darkening pigmentation, dry skin, or infections.

Other symptoms of Hypothyroidism may include the following:

• Lethargic behavior (lack of interest in play, frequent napping, tiring out easily)

• Weight gain, sometimes without an apparent gain in appetite

• Hair loss, especially on the trunk or tail (without associated itching)

• Cold intolerance/seeking out warm places to lie down

• Slow heart rate

• Chronic ear infections

• Behavioral changes such as aggression, anxiety and/or compulsivity

• Depression

These symptoms will appear gradually, so it is not uncommon for you to miss the initial stage of the disorder. It is generally seen in middle-aged or older dogs.

Prevention of hypothyroidism is the best approach through proper diet and daily supplements, avoiding unnecessary vaccines, and minimizing exposure to chemical or environmental hazards including cleaning products, X rays, antibiotics and food preservatives.

Since most hypothyroid dogs will retain at least some function of the thyroid, it may be very useful to support the function of the this through the use of supplements, herbs and glandular – possibly in combination with synthetic gland hormones depending on the stage and severity of the issue.

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