Is your dog middle aged, seems lethargic, overweight but doesn’t really seem to eat much food, suffers from hair loss and their skin is dry and thickened?
If you answered yes to either one or all of these questions, it is possible your dog may be suffering from a chronic lifetime disease called Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is not curable, and is a lifelong condition, where your dog’s body produces a lower than normal amount of thyroid hormone. This hormone is what regulates their metabolism and affects multiple body systems.
In order to diagnose your dog a blood sample needs to be taken to measure their total Thyroxin level, also known as T4 test. Thyroxin is the primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland. If these results are low your veterinarian will request an additional test to confirm a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism.
Once a diagnosis has been made your doctor will prescribe an oral medication, which is a synthetic thyroid hormone, to be given daily every 12 hours with food. After they have been on it for 4 weeks we will check the t4 level again 4-6 hours after they have had their medication in the morning. These results should be within the normal range and will let the veterinarian know if your dog is on the appropriate dose of the medication. Thereafter, blood tests will be done every 6 months and he/she will need a chronic annual exam performed by the veterinarian.
After the doctor has ensured that he/she is on the appropriate dosage their energy level may increase, you may see weight loss, and improvement with their skin and coat. All of these changes in turn will make for a brighter, happier and healthier pet.
North Hill Animal Hospital has a Chronic Care Program set in place for patients with chronic conditions. Hypothyroidism is our first condition that we have chosen to start with. With this program all patients receive a package outlining the disease, treatment and management.
Also with this program every time a patient comes in for their Annual Chronic Care Exam $5.00 gets put into the Oscar Fund, which is outlined on our website.
Written by Bonnie Tatton, V.T.