June 1, 2008 "Ask Seth"

My Jack Russell's activity level has diminished and the veterinarian‘s test results confirm that she has hypothyroidism. Will she have to be on thyroid medication the rest of her life?

Dear Seth,

My Jack Russell Terrier, Alli’s activity level has diminished in the past few years and the vet stated that this could be a thyroid problem. Test results confirm that she has hypothyroidism. Dr. Ruiz says that this is common and that she will be on thyroid supplements the rest of her life. Is this as common as he says it is and will this increase her activity level?

Jena, from Pt. Pleasant, WV


Hypothyroidism in dogs is fairly common and in most cases is the result of inadequate production of hormones by the thyroid. This usually occurs in middle-aged and older pets. Signs of hypothyroidism include increased sleeping, decreased stamina, increased skin problems, hair loss, premature graying of the muzzle, and recurrent skin infections. This condition is treatable with medications that are given daily. Alli will receive a dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone that will bring her thyroid level within normal limits and hopefully you will see an improvement with her activity level within a few months. I have seen many of these cases. Dogs have little side effects to being on the medication long term. However, like with all medications, talk to your veterinarian about the possible long term side effects of thyroid medications.

Seth Mayersohn, CVT

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