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  • Over the past year we had noticed changes in our 10-year-old chocolate lab, Chloe. She gained weight even though her diet had not changed, her hair and skin were dull and patchy in areas, and she grew “lazy”. We chalked some of it up to her getting older and allergies. She received multiple allergy baths and pills as needed.

    CHLOE

    We recently returned to the vet with Chloe for a prescription of antibiotics for her skin condition which appeared to be getting worse. This time the veterinarian recommended testing her thyroid for Hypothyroidism. We received the results within a few days and it confirmed hypothyroidism. Her initial dosage is 2 pills per day for one month. Her T4 will be tested after completing this dosage.

    Treatment of hypothyroidism is by giving oral replacement hormone for the rest of the dog’s life. Once the hair coat begins to improve, some dogs can be maintained on once daily medication. There are two general forms of thyroid medication, T3 and T4. T4 is converted to T3 by the body. Most hypothyroid dogs given T4 will convert it to T3 so almost all hypothyroid dogs receive T4 (levothyroxine or L-thyroxine). A few dogs are unable to make this conversion and require T3 medication.

    It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks before regrowth of the fur is apparent but we have already noticed a positive improvement. In dogs with associated ear infection, the ears should be cleaned and treated with antibiotics either in the ear or by mouth. Blood levels of the T4 are often measured in order to fine tune the dose.

    It’s a common disease in dogs. It affects all breeds, but it is often found in Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels. It usually happens in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) of medium to large breeds. Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk, but vets are unsure why.

    The most common signs of low thyroid function in dogs include loss or thinning of the fur, dull hair coat, excess shedding or scaling, weight gain, reduced activity and reduced ability to tolerate the cold. The hair loss occurs primarily over the body, sparing the head and legs, and is usually not accompanied by itching or redness of the skin. Some dogs will have thickening of the skin and increased skin pigment, especially in areas of friction, such as the armpit. Hypothyroid dogs often have ear infections and show ear pain, redness, and odor. Hypothyroid dogs may also develop skin infections which may be itchy and result in sores on the body. The accumulation of substances called mucopolysaccharides can cause the muscles of the face to droop.

    If your dog has any of these symptoms, ask your veterinarian to test your dog’s thyroid levels.

    This post was submitted by Kimberly’s Pet Care.

    I provide personalized professional dog boarding, pet sitting and dog walking services to my clients and their pets in Waterford Lakes, Avalon Park, Stoneybrook, Eastwood, Avalon Lakes, Timber Springs, Spring Isle, Cypress Springs, Andover, Cypress Lakes and other communities in East Orlando. Call 321-428-0281 today to schedule a free consultation.

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