Abnormalities in thyroid production don’t only attack people. Both cats and dogs are prone to different forms of thyroid disorders. Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, here are some things to watch out for if you suspect your dog may have thyroid irregularities.
Hypothyroidism is fairly well-known in dogs-particularly medium to large, middle-aged dogs. (Hypothyroidism is also prevalent in neutered males and spayed females.) While all dogs are at risk for hypothyroidism, these breeds are more prone to it:
- Golden Retrievers
- Irish Setter
- Doberman Pinscher
- Miniature Schnauzer
Hypothyroidism is usually caused by the dog’s immune system attacking his thyroid. It can also be caused by a shrinking thyroid or even a tumor. Symptoms include dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, muscle degeneration, and overall fatigue. For moderate hypothyroidism, dogs may experience thickening of the skin, eye puffiness, and eyelid drooping.
Hypothyroidism is not deadly and can be treated with oral hormones. Talk to your veterinarian for more details.
If hypothyroidism is possible, so is hyperthyroidism – the excess production of thyroid hormones. This scenario is more common in adult cats and is quite rare in dogs. Symptoms include weight loss, excessive hunger and thirst, hyperactivity, diarrhea, and shedding.
Talk to your doctor if you think your cat may have hyperthyroidism. Though blood tests are not always accurate, they may help pinpoint the problem. Treatment options include oral antithyroid medications, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and radioactive iodine therapy.