Thyroid Disease is very common in dogs. The following breeds; boxers, golden retrievers, Pit bulls and Labradors this is extremely common and incidence rates can be up to 70%. So how does Low thyroid hormone result? It is from impaired production and secretion of thyroid hormones. More than 95% of all cases occur as a result of the destruction of the thyroid gland. Most hypothyroidism is due to thyroid gland destruction that is suspected to be caused by the dog’s immune system killing the cells of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism may also be a result of atrophy of the thyroid and infiltration of the tissue by fat, or by cancer.
How do we diagnose this common disease? Usually, we start with the most common test: A baseline T4 test. A blood sample is drawn and tested to determine the level of T4 thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. The T4 hormone is produced only in the thyroid gland and dogs with a failure of the thyroid gland will have a lowered level of this hormone. However, there are other conditions that can cause a lowering of T4 so if this screening test is positive for hypothyroidism another more specific test is often done to confirm the diagnosis. This test if the FT4 and TSH. Dogs from seven years old and older should be tested yearly with at least a baseline that is included in their senior bloodwork profile. Call us today to get it checked out.
Treatment is very easy. They get to take their medication levothyroxine every day and they do extremely well.