Canine Hyperthyroidism - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Canine Hyperthyroidism – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from a disease known as canine hyperthyroidism. It can be quite dangerous for dogs if left untreated as it affects their internal metabolic rate. Keep reading to learn more about canine hyperthyroidism.

Although canine hyperthyroidism is not very common, it still must be diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent various problems and adverse health effects from happening that can potentially be fatal.

Dogs With Hyperthyroidism And The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is a gland found in the trachea that has a lot to do with the metabolism and metabolic rate and the proper growth of the animal.

Hyperthyroidism is characterized by keeping your dog extremely thin or obese, with periods in between the two forms due to constant changes in metabolic rate. This also affects other parts of the body, like the kidneys, due to constant weight fluctuation.

This is a disease characterized by the exaggerated production of hormones by the thyroid gland, causing chaos in the body and leading the animal to feel tired. This causes other conditions such as lack of appetite or a voracious appetite causing the dog to become extremely thin or obese. It is important to have your dog’s thyroid hormone levels checked to rule out hyperthyroidism.

Causes Of Hyperthyroidism In Dogs

There are many things that can cause hyperthyroidism in dogs but the most common of them are:

  • Malformation of the thyroid gland
  • Inflammation of the thyroid gland
  • Tumors in the thyroid gland or trachea
  • Immune system disorders
  • Decay of the tissue that lines the gland
  • Thyroid cancer

These and other less common causes can lead to hyperthyroidism in dogs. If you believe that your dog is suffering from thyroid issues, take him to the veterinarian as they will be able to properly diagnose your furry friend and recommend the best treatment option.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism In Dogs

Hyperthyroidism in dogs can present itself in many different ways. These are the most common clinical signs of the disease:

  • The dog feels anxious and hungry most of the time
  • The dog is constantly thirsty
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Tremors and rapid heart rate
  • Coat loses shine and sheds more often
  • Appearance of lumps, sores, or wounds
  • Shortness of breath marked by coughing
  • Unwillingness to play or exercise dog may also have gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea

Your dog may also have gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting. The presence of tumors in this area can also cause the dog to suffer from thyroid problems, secreting more hormones than it needs for its body.

Dogs That Are More Likely To Have Hyperthyroidism

Medium and large-breed dogs are more likely to suffer from canine hyperthyroidism than smaller breeds. Thyroid carcinoma is the main cause of hyperthyroidism in dogs. If you have one of these breeds, you should get their thyroid levels checked regularly.

Medium breeds:

Large breeds:

Hyperthyroidism may be latent in the dog’s body, as the disease incubates from the time it is born without showing any common signs of the disease as a puppy, but a long time later when it enters adulthood, it is something with which you have to be careful.

Detecting Hyperthyroidism In Dogs

If you notice your dog starting to drink a lot of fluids and urinate frequently, you should get an idea that something is happening with your pet. For this reason, you should not wait and go to the doctor immediately. The doctor will conduct various tests which include a physical examination and blood chemistry test to be able to determine what the dog is going through.

The blood test will verify the amount of thyroid hormone secreted in the dog’s body, which is usually T4, produced by the same gland, this is to ensure that your pet receives the best care in addition to ruling out a tumor.

After verifying the result, the veterinarian will choose the best treatment for your pet and weigh the pros and cons of different measures that can be taken. If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to congestive heart failure, an enlarged heart, heart murmurs, and other health concerns. 

Treatment For Hyperthyroidism Caused By A Tumor

Generally, in the presence of a tumor, the dog must be observed to verify the tumor size and, if necessary to remove it, having the doctor assess whether the use of chemotherapies or radiotherapies is necessary. Medications are often given for treatment.

Radiotherapy is usually given to reduce the size of the tumor before doing surgery in dogs. This way the health of the dog is kept as optimal as possible given the situation.

When the dog is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism due to a tumor, the ideal thing is to remove the thyroid gland at once to avoid possible relapses since many times these tend to form again, making your furry friend have to undergo the same treatment again.

If your dog has a thyroid tumor it will present itself in much the same way as the clinical signs we previously mentioned. In addition, your dog will have a different pigmentation of its skin and eyes, and it will also have respiratory issues that prevent the dog from intaking the proper amount of oxygen. This will cause your dog to want to lay around and be inactive.

On many occasions, the dog will also have diarrhea and vomit that contain blood and mucus. This will also cause your furry friend to feel extremely weak so it is necessary to let them rest until they receive proper treatment.

In some cases where the size of the tumor is relatively small, radiation therapy sessions can decrease its size and surgery will not be necessary.

Sometimes there are complications related to tumor removal surgery. Of the complications, the main source of problems results from loss of blood and lower hemoglobin; requiring a transfusion during and after surgery to raise levels back to normal.

After surgery, the dog must be under constant observation and will likely be in the pet hospital for one or two days; the specialist will give you recommendations and a treatment plan that will be provided post-operatively, and important instructions to follow at home.

In addition to the treatment, it should be taken into account to give the dog the best in terms of a balanced diet that guarantees special nutrition, especially if he lost a lot of blood during surgery, which will help him on his way to getting well.

During your dog’s recovery time, the veterinarian will tell you which foods should be eaten so that your dog can regain its strength and be the same as before the symptoms occurred.

Remember that it is a severe health problem, so keep a close eye on your dog so that you can prevent and, if necessary, cure it in time.

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