Help! My Dog Has Hypothyroidism. – Travel Animal Doctor

Help! My Dog Has Hypothyroidism. – Travel Animal Doctor

Your dog goes in for her yearly check up, and your veterinarian thinks your dog has hypothyroidism. -Travel Animal Doctor

What is this disease, and will your dog be okay?

Hypothyroidism in dogs is a common endocrine problem that occurs in middle aged dogs, often between the ages of 4 yrs to 10 yrs old.

Predisposed Breeds

Some breeds that are more susceptible to this disease include Dachshund, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, Doberman Pincher, Airedale Terrier, and Miniature Schnauzer.

Clinical signs

Is your dog middle aged, and suddenly gaining weight? Is she sleeping more than usual, sluggish, and inactive? Did her usual triumphant smile get replaced by a puffy and/or droopy face?

Travel Animal Doctor

mariposavet / Foter / CC BY

Are you noticing hair loss on both sides of your dog, that does not seem to itch?

Travel Animal Doctor

mariposavet / Foter / CC BY

If your dog is not eating any more than usual, yet still appears to be gaining weight, it may not just be what you are feeding her. Even if you are only noticing one of these clinical signs, it is important to take your dog to the veterinary office.

A common endocrine disease, called hypothyroidism, causes these clinical signs. Your veterinarian can do some tests to evaluate your pet for hypothyroidism. If your dog has hypothyroidism, your veterinarian will be able to subscribe the necessary treatment for your pet.


If your veterinarian suspects hypothyroidism, a series of tests can be done including what you may hear the veterinarian refer to as measurement of:

  • Total T4
  • free T4
  • TSH

These tests are obtained by taking a blood sample from your pet and performing the accurate testing. Other diseases can interfere with the thyroid levels in dogs. For this reason, it may be difficult to ascertain whether or not your dog has hypothyroidism through the use of just one clinical test. Other tests that can be used to obtain the diagnosis of hypothyroidism in your pet include imaging of your pet’s thyroid gland, a TSH stim test, and response to supplementation of the thyroid hormone.

Travel Animal Doctor / Foter / CC BY

Normocytic, normochromic, nonregenerative anemia can be found in around 50% of dogs that are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This type of anemia occurs with chronic disease in your dog, and can be treated by treating the hypothyroidism. If a dog has hypothyroidism, the cholesterol in the blood is often high. Around 80% of dogs with hypothyroidism will have hypercholesterolemia. Simply put, this is increased cholesterol levels in the blood. The TSH stimulation test is the go-to-test to diagnose hypothyroidism, however it is important to note that TSH is expensive.


Synthetic T4. You may hear your veterinarian refer to it as levothyroxine sodium, or L-thyroxine. Simply put, this medication is a replacement of the hormone that is low in your pet.

Will my dog be okay?

With ongoing treatment of primary hypothyroidism, the likelihood that your dog will be okay is good. One to two months after administration of the L-thyroxine, another check up should be scheduled to ensure that the dosage is working to reduce and reverse the signs of hypothyroidism. After finding the accurate dose, further serum T4 concentration testing should occur one to two times a year. 

So if your aging dog has hypothyroidism, fear not, it is not the end of the world. – Travel Animal Doctor

Your dog can live a happy and healthy life with just a little bit of extra care.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Jessica Claudio, DVM




  1. Thank you so much for educating us about conditions such as this one. Too often, pet parents w/o medical/clinical knowledge struggle to find information in layman’s terms to help guide them through the pets situation. I love learning, therefore I really enjoyed this post.
    GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES recently posted…CAN DOGS SHARE?My Profile

  2. We have lots of dogs at home and this is so helpful. I forwarded the link of this to my sister and I know she will enjoy reading it! Thanks for sharing and what a cute photo =)
    Merlinda Little recently posted…Millennium SquareMy Profile


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