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Dogs and Thyroid Disease

Updated on February 23, 2015
Just Ask Susan profile image

Susan is a published poet and short story writer. Her expertise is in cooking and healthy living. She hosts a canine recipe blog.


Just as us humans dogs can develop thyroid problems known as canine hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) that means there is a thyroid hormone deficiency. If your dog is gaining weight for no reason whatsoever $6, sleeping more than you would normally expect him or her to, is losing hair, thinning hair, dull coat, has bald spots, dry skin or seems to be unhappy or depressed this could be a problem going on with the thyroid. This is the most common hormone imbalance when it comes to dogs. If you suspect or your dog is showing any of these symptoms a simple blood test at your dogs veterinarian will detect if there is in fact a problem. In most cases if your dog does have a thyroid problem the vet will prescribe a medication. His or her blood levels will have to be checked every so often to make sure that the levels are in the correct range. If not the dosage of medication will be either increased or decreased.


An overactive thyroid is called hyperthyroidism (where the is an excess of thyroid hormone) but is rare in dogs. If you suspect that your dog may suffer from this there are a few signs to look for. They are always hungry but yet they are losing weight, they may tend to seem nervous and have a higher than normal heart rate, fur becomes dull and lifeless, labored breathing, extreme thirst, increased urination, vomiting and diarrhea. Your veterinarian can do a physical exam to check for an enlarged thyroid and will do blood work. He may feel it is necessary to do an ultrasound in some cases. There are several ways to treat this. Medication, surgery or radioactive iodine treatments are the options. If medication is given the thyroid should show results within three weeks. Surgery would be to remove all of part of the thyroid gland if there is a tumor. Radioactive iodine is used to kill off the overactive cells.

For both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism there are homeopathic remedies that may help with the symptoms for both of these conditions. It is best to first check with your animal care provider before administering anything to the dog yourself.

Thyroid problems in dogs will usually occur somewhere between the age of four and up. Medium to larger breeds seem to be more prone to this medical condition.

© 2011 Susan Zutautas


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Mandi, Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.

      Eddy, Thank you. You have a great day too!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I am sure that many dog owners will benefit from sharing this one.

      Take care and I wish you a wonderful day.


    • MandiZimmera profile image

      MandiZimmera 6 years ago from La Crosse, Wisconsin

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      joan, Many people do not realize this. Thanks for stopping by to read this.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 6 years ago from Katy, Texas

      I never knew dogs could have hyperthyroidism. Really informative.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Becky Thank you so much for sharing this with us and glad to hear that your dog lived a long life after you discovered the hypothyroid problem. Take care.

    • profile image

      Becky 6 years ago

      My dog had hypothyroid. I had him at the vet all the time and they would run tests but not the thyroid test. My sister heard a description of this on the radio one day and told me about it. Fat, lazy, and lethargic. I took him in and requested the test and they told me they wanted to do other tests first because it was so expensive. I told them no, he had already had all these other tests and I wanted the thyroid test done. This was 30 years ago and it was $100 then. It came back very low, which was surprising to them because he was only 3 years old and 25 lbs. He was on Synthroid for the rest of his life. He lived to be 15 before several strokes took him. He was a great kids dog and would let them do anything with him until he figured they were old enough to learn. He then growled when they hurt him. Eventually snapped but never left a mark on them. I consider he did a good job of training them how to treat a pet.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Chatkath, dearabbysmom and Sinea so glad that you found this hub informative. Thanks so much for all of your comments.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Very good hub. The symptoms you described were happening in one of our labs. Unfortunately, it ended up that he has Addison's disease. With meds, he's doing well now but you hate to have your dogs not feeling well. Keep on keeping us informed!

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      I have wondered about this possibility with my female BC, who runs and runs every day (and is fed very little) but is still, shall we say, zatfig? Thank you for this information!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thanks Susan-Learn something new every day! Thank you for sharing....

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I learned about dogs and thyroid problems when I was working at a kennel. It amazed me how many people have their dogs on thyroid medication. Since I have large dogs I keep my eye on them as they are getting close to the age that problems may start. Thanks for reading and commenting dahoglund, Pamela and Katie.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      WOW who knew dogs could have thyroid issues but it makes a lot of sense and things are much clearer now in the symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism. Thanks for the helpful pet care information. :) Katie

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      This is good information to know as a pet owner.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I never thought about this problem in a dog and we have never had the problem although us humans in the family do. I'll keep it in mind.