Hypothyroidism in Dogs

As I sit thinking on what to blog about this month, my mind goes blank.  It’s my month to pound out a blog and in spite of the plethora of things to blog about, I have nothing. There are so many interesting topics to choose from in a vet clinic, from the gross and nasty to the toxins and diseases then there is behavioural issues.  I ran through most of them in my head but nothing was coming to me easily until I thought of a sweet old dog I’ll call Honey that unfortunately had to be euthanased recently.

You see Honey came to our clinic in 2011 as a 2nd opinion for a diet consultation. When Honey walked into our clinic she was morbidly obese tipping the scales at 133.7lbs and it was obvious that her owner was very concerned about her health.  Honey’s sweet, sweet face seemed so small in comparison to the rest of her body.  We immediately wanted to do some blood work as well as receive the history from her previous clinic.  The blood work confirmed our doctor’s suspicion and that was, that Honey had Hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism, is a malfunctioning Thyroid gland, where it no longer regulates the Thyroid hormone levels throughout the body. The causes for Hypothyroidism, can be the dog’s own immune system, killing the cells of the thyroid gland.  Atrophy of the thyroid tissue, cancer and other diseases also attribute to the dysfunctioning gland.  But the good news is, it’s very easy to diagnose and regulate with the medication so the dogs can live normally once again.


Location of the Thyroid Gland

So what does this hormonal imbalance do to dogs?  There are a few symptoms to watch for and they may not all be experienced and may develop slowly over the years:

  • Lethargy
  • generalized weakness
  • Inactivity
  • Mental dullness
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive hair shedding
  • Poor hair growth
  • Dry or lusterless coat
  • Excessive scaling


Excessive hair loss, dry coat
Excessive weight gain








Once Honey was diagnosed and placed on Thyroid medication we monitored her regularly with weigh in’s and blood work.  This was to ensure her hormones were back to normal levels.  As the months went by Honey came in every other month to see how much she had lost and after a year and a half she was down to a healthy 82.5lbs.


Wow, Honey had lost 51.2 lbs!  It was truly amazing to see how Honey transformed from a dog that was barely able to move around to a dog that came trotting into her appointments feeling healthy and energized.  I’m so glad that she came to our clinic and that the remaining last years of her life were enriched.


Written by Jennifer Barr