Know all about canine hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a term that not many people are familiar with. In fact, the ones who have even heard about this term do not know what it is all about. In this case, it will be better to first discuss hypothyroidism.

First of all it is a hormonal disorder that has affected a lot of people around the world. And since the anatomy of canines is similar to human anatomy, these innocent animals can also develop this disorder, which is called canine hypothyroidism.

The condition of hypothyroidism is related to the malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. The amount of thyroid that the gland secretes becomes lower than the normal level. This further affects the whole metabolism of the body. The thyroid gland controls the proper functioning of all other hormonal glands in the body through the secretion of the thyroid hormone. So, if the gland is not working properly, other glands will also stop responding in a positive manner.

Since the disorder is not restricted to one part or organ of the body, it becomes essential to treat it as soon as possible. However, it is difficult to diagnose the problem in the preliminary stages. This is because most of its symptoms are just like common health disorders that people or animals may suffer from. Below are some of the symptoms that characterize canine hypothyroidism.

    1. Less interest in physical activities like play and long walks. This is also accompanied by a tendency to nap quite frequently during the day.
    2. Increase in body weight though the dog may not experience an increase in appetite.
    3. Skin infections caused by bacteria.
    4. The skin becomes dry.
    5. Hair loss which is especially concentrated on the tail.
    6. Skin in areas that have had hair loss can loose the natural color or become thick.
    7. Not being able to tolerate cold environs. As a result, the dog may be found sitting in warm areas even during summers.
    8. The heart beat is also affected; the heart rate slows down.
    9. The dog develops ear infections of a chronic nature.
    10. Extreme changes in behavior. The dog may become aggressive unnecessarily, have seizures and feel anxious. Certain physical changes are also noticed, such as a head tilt.
    11. Depression

Just like humans, there are no clear causes for hypothyroidism in canines but it is mainly linked to their immune system. The immune system of the dog starts attacking the thyroid gland and leads to this condition. To counter these attacks and compensate for the lack of thyroid, the dog’s system starts secreting the hormone in higher quantity. However, after a point this attempt fails and the dog develops hypothyroidism. Certain pollutants or allergies that are found in the environment can also lead to this condition.

Hypothyroidism in dogs also has a genetic basis which leads it to become even more severe. This feature is also the reason why hypothyroidism is usually found in big breed dogs. These include Golden retrievers, Greyhounds, Airedale terriers, Doberman pinschers, Irish setters, Cocker spaniels and many more. Though the problem is not common in small breeds, rare cases can still be found.

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