Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is one of the most common
canine hormone imbalances. This was not always the case. In recent decades, hypothyroidism
diagnoses are on the rise.
What’s going on here?
In mammals, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of
which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream, that regulate the
body. The thyroid gland, one of the largest endocrine glands, controls how quickly
the body uses energy, makes proteins, regulates calcium and controls the body’s
sensitivity to other hormones. The thyroid is critical to metabolic processes and
affects the functionality of almost every other organ in the body. The endocrine
system is highly sensitive, and its delicate dance of hormones can be disrupted,
potentially resulting in disease. In dogs, the most common hormonal disorder diagnosed
Typically, hypothyroidism occurs in dogs from 4-10 years of age,
though in rare instances dogs can actually be born with it. Because the thyroid
hormone affects the metabolism of the whole body, the clinical signs can be non-specific.
That being said, dogs with hypothyroidism often exhibit low energy levels, weight
gain, hair loss, a dull hair coat and concurrent skin infections. More...