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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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Hypothyroidism in Dogs

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormone. Because the thyroid gland sets the rate at which cells burn energy, a deficiency of thyroid hormone leaves pets dull and listless in body and soul.

Key facts about hypothyroidism in dogs
  • Hypothyroid disease is the most common hormone disease of dogs.
  • Pets lose their sparkling personalities.
  • Too many vaccines may cause hypothyroidism.
Which pets are most at risk for hypothyroidism?

Dogs frequently develop hypothyroidism. In fact, hypothyroid disease in dogs is the most common endocrine disease of dogs. Between 1 in 150 and 1 in 500 dogs has hypothyroidism. Cats, on the other hand, rarely develop hypothyroid disease, although they frequently develop the opposite disease—hyperthyroidism.

Among the dog breeds predisposed to hypothyroidism are: Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Irish Setter, Great Dane, Airedale Terrier, Old English Sheepdog, Dachshund, Miniature Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle and Boxer.

Recommended products for hypothyroid disease in dogs
Why is hypothyroidism bad for my dog?

Hypothyroid disease affects your dog's entire body. The skin is often smelly, dry, and dull. The hair falls out and your pet gains weight. Some pets don't experience normal heat cycles or develop normal sperm. Most dogs seem mentally dull. Fortunately, hypothyroid disease is easily treated.

Can over-vaccinating cause hypothyroidism?

Some veterinarians believe the increase in hypothyroid disease parallels the increase in the number of vaccines given. They point out that vaccines stimulate the immune system, and that many dogs develop a form of thyroid disease where their immune cells attack the thyroid (lymphocytic thyroiditis) until it is no longer able to function. Because of this, many veterinarians recommend that dogs be vaccinated as infrequently as necessary to provide disease protection. For some pets that will mean they need only a single vaccine as an adult to be protected for life. Other dogs may need vaccines every few years.

Tip

One of the main symptoms of hypothyroid disease is hair loss and scaly skin. Consider giving your dog Omega 3 fatty acids, such as Super Pure Omega 3, to restore skin and coat health.

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