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Dog Thyroid Disease

The thyroid gland in dogs is found is found in the front portion of the neck and its size varies depending upon the breed.



The thyroid gland in dogs secretes the thyroid hormone which is responsible for controlling the body’s metabolic rate. Thyroid problems in dogs are caused when the thyroid gland fails to function properly. There are two kinds of thyroid disease in dogs and these are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.



The former is a condition where the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce the thyroid hormone in sufficient quantities to ensure the smooth functioning of the body. Hyperthyroidism on the other hand is symptomized by an overactive thyroid gland that secretes a large amount of thyroid hormones. This disease is symptomized by a lack of energy, lethargy, a lack of interest in things that formerly interested it and frequent napping in the corner of a room.



Other symptoms of a dog affected by thyroid problems are: include tiredness and fatigue, a rapid weight gain due to faulty metabolic processes, a dull and poor coat that seems patchy as the dog is likely to lose hair around the head and neck in particular and dry, pale and cold skin. The dog may no longer be mentally alert and it may develop inflammations of the ear and a slow heart rate. Reproductive issues leading to infertility, problems with the heart and eye infections are less common but nevertheless possible complications that may arise later.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the immune system in the dog’s body attacks the cells within the thyroid gland and slowly destroys them. However, there are medications which will minimize the excess amount of the thyroid hormone produced. It would be useful to consult your local veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. Breeds that are more susceptible to this condition include poodles, Dachshunds, Terriers, Boxers, Beagles, Doberman pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker spaniels, Spaniels, Rotweilers, German Shepherds and dogs of a mixed breed. Hypothyroidism in dogs is treated by hormone replacement medication to which the dog is likely to respond in two weeks. After the fourth week, the coat will start looking better. In the case of hyperthyroidism, surgery is sometimes prescribed because cancerous tumors can sometimes be the cause. Once the tumor is removed, chemotherapy and radiation follows. But this is not common in most breeds except Labrador Retrievers. There are natural homeopathic treatments for diseases of the thyroid gland and they can be administered with the veterinarian keeping track of the dog’s condition.

 
  Submitted on May 7, 2010