Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Hypothyroidism is a common disease in middle-aged dogs. The thyroid glands, which are located in the neck and regulate metabolism, decrease the production of its hormones.
This slows down the metabolism. Left untreated, hypothyroidism will affect many organs.
Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease (the immune system attacks the thyroid gland).
In some cases, the thyroid gland degenerates for no known reason.
When the metabolism slows, almost every organ will be affected. Some signs you may notice:
- Obesity with no increase in appetite
- Dog gets cold easily
- Dull, thinning hair
- Thickened facial skin
- Fat deposits in the eyes
- Dry eye
- Head tilt
Your veterinarian will review the signs and do a blood test to measure the level of hormones.
Hypothyroidism is not curable, but is treatable with:
- Medication: life-long hormone replacement
- Regular follow-ups: required for dosage adjustment by your veterinarian
If there is an overdose of medication, it will result in hyperthyroidism. You will notice hyperactivity, weight loss, and increased drinking and urination.
Treatment usually shows quick improvement of signs.
There are no certain preventive measures to reduce the risk of your dog developing hypothyroidism.
However, proper diet and nutrition, and the use of natural supplements will boost the immune system and keep your dog's body in the best health possible.
Dogs on life-long medication with regular follow-ups at the veterinarian can live a normal life.
Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM