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Hypothyroidism in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Thyroid hormone affects many different cells in the body and deficiency of this hormone leads to a wide variety of symptoms. Because the history, clinical signs and presentation of dogs with hypothyroidism are so variable, there are other illnesses/symptoms that are often considered when establishing a definitive diagnosis. These diseases include:

  • Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's disease) is an endocrine disorder that arises when the body makes too much cortisone hormone. Dermatologic (skin) and hair coat problems with this disease are common and may appear similar to those of hypothyroidism.

  • Growth hormone deficiency is a rare hormonal disorder that commonly is associated with hair loss and occurs in middle-aged small to medium-sized dogs.

  • Other causes of reproductive dysfunction, such as infertility, failure to cycle, prolonged bleeding associated with heat, and lack of libido (sex drive) must also be considered.

  • Neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) diseases that affect the nerves of the head, the larynx, and other peripheral nerves around the body must be ruled out.

  • Other causes of obesity and lethargy must be ruled out.

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