Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Dogs
As hypothyroidism destroys the thyroid glands, your dog becomes unable to produce thyroid hormones. Over the course of time, your dog’s body is slowly damaged because of the lack of those essential hormones. It can take several years before the physical deterioration reaches such a point that you begin to think your pet might have a health problem. In fact, many owners have misread these treatable symptoms as “normal” signs of aging that cannot be helped.
Common Symptoms That Mimic Aging
- Around 4 to 6 years age, dogs with hypothyroidism often begin to display classic symptoms of the disease such as:
- Thinning fur with hair loss on the body (but not usually on the head or legs)
- Dull coat
- Excessive shedding
- Thickening of the skin and darkened skin color
- Weight gain
- Intolerant of exercise
- Less able to tolerate the cold
If your pet is at risk for hypothyroidism, you might want to talk with your vet about testing for the disease as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Early detection can help you ensure your dog avoid other complications associated with hypothyroidism such as frequent ear infections, odor, skin infections, or puffiness in the face and thickened skin folds above the eyes, creating what’s sometimes called a “tragic” dog face.
Additional Complications and Risks
In some instances, hypothyroidism may cause reproductive problems for canines. Small breed dogs with the disease may be at risk for megaesophagus in which the esophagus becomes enlarged. With megaesophagus, food cannot properly descend to the stomach so dogs will regurgitate whatever they eat. Other problems that may occur in smaller dogs include abnormal nerve and muscle function that can affect walking.
Impact on Overall Health
Untreated, hypothyroidism can greatly affect your dog’s quality of life. Pets may become less mobile, have constant pain or discomfort, and be zapped of energy. Hypothyroidism may also put your dog at risk for anemia and high cholesterol. The good news is that there are ways to effectively treat the disorder and alleviate the symptoms.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.