Hypothyroidism is a common disease in dogs and causes a range of problems from weight gain to skin disease. Hypothyroidism, the insufficient production of hormone by the thyroid glands, is the most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder affecting dogs. There is a genetic component with hypothyroidism being common in certain breeds, but not all cases of canine hypothyroidism are genetic.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck and produces hormones that affect the function of many parts of the body. The most common signs of low thyroid function in dogs include loss or thinning of the fur, dull hair coat, excess shedding or scaling, weight gain, reduced activity and reduced ability to tolerate the cold. Some dogs will have thickening of the skin and increased skin pigment, especially in areas of friction, such as the armpit (axilla). Hypothyroid dogs often have ear infections and show ear pain, redness, and odour. Hypothyroid dogs may also develop skin infections which may be itchy and result in sores on the body. Less commonly recognized signs that may be seen in a small number of dogs with hypothyroidism include dilation of the esophagus (megaesophagus) causing regurgitation, and abnormal function of nerves or muscles leading to weakness or abnormal ability to walk
Hypothyroidism occurs more commonly in medium to large breed dogs and usually in middle aged dogs.
- Testing should occur as late as possible prior to breeding
- Ideally testing should be repeated annually while in the breeding programme
- Microchip must be verified
- All registration paperwork must be presented if applicable
- A blood sample is taken in a consultation
- Results may take up to 2 weeks
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