Canine hypothyroidism is an endocrine disease caused by a deficiency in thyroid hormones. Known as T3 and T4, they are very important for various metabolic processes in the body.
The disease can occur naturally, due to lymphocytic thyroiditis or thyroid atrophy, or due to the use of certain medications, the former being the most common form. It is also possible that hypothyroidism is congenital, but it is rarer.
A deficiency of these hormones can lead to skin disorders, weakness, increased cholesterol and triglycerides, and anemia. That’s why it’s important for guardians to take animals to the vet whenever they notice anything different.
“Hypothyroidism causes a reduction in metabolism as a whole and will affect the functioning of all organs to a greater or lesser extent,” he explains. Hilka Fatima Friesian Mendes Nevesveterinarian specializing in dog and cat endocrinology.
The most common symptoms that are easily identified by guardians are hair loss, skin lesions, lethargy, lack of interest in activities, and weight gain. “In some cases, it is possible to notice the so-called ‘tragic face’, resulting from swelling of the facial region, and ‘rat tail’, when the dog’s tail is hairless, resembling that of a rodent,” he says. . Jessica Abatzoglou Magnoveterinarian qualified in homeopathy.
Diagnosis is made by hormone testing (in dogs, free T4 is expected to be identified by reduced dialysis and elevated TSH). In addition, in animals with the disease, it is common to observe anemia, increased cholesterol, changes in the liver and gallbladder in blood tests and ultrasounds. The most predisposed breeds are the golden retriever, the dachshund, the cocker spaniel, the rottweiller, the beagle and the labrador.
The treatment is relatively simple, carried out by hormone replacement, and generally lasts the life of the animal. According to Hilka, this problem requires follow-up by a veterinarian – there are professionals specialized in the endocrine field – it involves periodic clinical reassessments, general blood tests and hormonal control of serum levothyroxine (thyroid hormone present in the blood).
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