Sierra Veterinary Clinic

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

2 minutes reading time (431 words)

Hypothyroidism and Your Dog


Hypothyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance in dogs. Also known as thyroid disease, hypothyroidism usually occurs in canines over 5 years of age. While any breed of dog can develop this thyroid problem, breeds like Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Dachshunds are more commonly affected.

What is hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is located in your dog’s neck and produces thyroid hormones that regulate your dog’s metabolism. The thyroid glands are paired, and sit on each side of the airway or trachea—the hormones produced here affect the metabolic rate for every system in the body. When too little hormone is produced and levels fall, your dog’s metabolism slows down, resulting in hypothyroidism.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Multiple symptoms can occur with hypothyroidism and many organ systems can be affected. The most obvious change is with your dog’s coat—it may become dry, brittle, and thin, with areas of hair loss or alopecia.

Skin infections and skin thickening are also common, and many dogs with low thyroid are no longer able to tolerate cold temperatures. Many dogs will become significantly overweight, even though their diet hasn’t changed.

Abnormal heart rhythms and slow heart rates can be identified during your pet’s annual exam. If left untreated, cardiac abnormalities can result in health issues throughout the body.

Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
  • Changes in coat and skin
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Low energy, sluggishness
  • Decline in mental alertness
  • Cold intolerance

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
Your veterinarian diagnoses hypothyroidism with lab work. This disease is not always easy to identify, and some medications can affect thyroid levels. Blood values that are typically evaluated include T4, T3, TSH, and free floating T4. Other changes on lab work include a low red blood cell count and a high cholesterol level.

Can hypothyroidism be treated?
Hypothyroidism is treatable. Therapy typically involves lifelong thyroid supplementation, dosed based on your dog’s weight and thyroid levels. Symptoms generally improve within 4 to 8 weeks of starting medication. Once your dog’s hormone levels have stabilized, your dog will continue the stable dose of medication with annual tests of his thyroid levels.

While thyroid disease is treatable, hypothyroidism is a serious health risk for dogs. If your dog demonstrates any of the typical symptoms or you think your dog has a thyroid problem, be sure to contact your veterinarian for an evaluation as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can make the diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Annual blood work is an important tool in protecting the health of your furry family members, especially for pets 5 years and older.

Heart Disease and Your Pet
Pet Wellness: Understanding Common Tests for Your ...

Related Posts



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Sunday, 12 July 2020

With the recent shelter-in-place order issued for our community, we wanted to take a moment to let you know that we are open and here for you and your pet!

However with the safety of our clients, patients and employees in mind, our lobby will be closed until further notice. Veterinary services will remain available during our normal business hours with a few adjustments to how we receive you and your pet, including:

Appointments & Medication/Food Pickup

Upon arriving at the clinic, please remain in your vehicle and contact us via phone @ 209-477-4841 to let our team know you have arrived. A team member will then meet you at your vehicle to escort your pet inside for the appointment and/or deliver any products you need to pick up. Payments can be made over the phone, from your vehicle.

We ask that no one who is experiencing flu-like symptoms or who has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus enter the facility at this time.

Refill Requests

To submit a medication or food refill request, please contact us via phone, email or online refill request form. We will contact you when your refill is ready and deliver it to your vehicle upon your arrival.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and for helping us keep our community safe!


Website Contents © Sierra Veterinary Clinic
Unauthorized duplication or reposting of the contents of this site in any form is strictly prohibited.

Stockton Website Design by Brentwood Visual  |  Staff Login