Hypothyroidism in Dogs | Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs most frequently in large, middle-aged dogs of either gender and of any breed or mixed breed. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are often nonspecific and quite gradual in onset, and they frequently vary based upon the dog’s breed and age at the time of onset of thyroid hormone deficiency. Although the signs of hypothyroidism can be subtle, most affected dogs have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Mental dullness
  • Lethargy; listlessness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Reluctance to engage in normal activities
  • Intolerance to cold (“heat-seeking” behavior)
  • Weight gain, without increased appetite or food consumption
  • Symmetrical hair loss (alopecia), without itchiness (bilaterally symmetric, nonpruitic truncal alopecia; the head and legs are often spared)
  • Excessive shedding
  • Greasy skin; flaky skin (seborrhea)
  • Dandruff
  • Pimples or other pustules on the skin (pyoderma)
  • Chronic ear infections (otitis)
  • Dry, brittle hair coat
  • Skin thickening, especially on the face and forehead (myxedema), giving a puffy appearance referred to as a “tragic facial expression”

The dog’s neuromuscular, reproductive, cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal systems may be affected as well, causing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Incoordination (ataxia)
  • Seizures
  • Heart arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms)
  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Decreased libido (reduced sex drive)
  • Abortion
  • Testicular atrophy

These more generalized symptoms are suggestive of hypothyroidism especially when they accompany the more specific, primarily dermatologic symptoms mentioned above.

Signs of altered metabolism may not be appreciated by owners until thyroid hormone supplementation is started. Weight gain obviously can be attributed to overeating and a lack of sufficient exercise. However, if a dog’s diet and exercise routine have not changed, and the dog is gaining weight for no apparent reason, hypothyroidism should be on the list of suspects. Similarly, hypothyroidism should be considered when a dog develops unexplained skin and coat abnormalities, with hair thinning on the back and around the tail, excessive shedding, greasy flaky skin or other dermatologic disorders.

Dogs at Increased Risk

Hypothyroidism occurs most frequently in large and giant breed, middle-aged dogs (2 to 8 years of age), of either gender and of any breed or mixed breed. Spayed females seem to have a greater risk of developing hypothyroidism than do intact females, although the reason for this association is unclear. Breeds reported to be predisposed to hypothyroidism include the Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Greyhound, Scottish Deerhound, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Poodle, Cocker Spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog, Airedale Terrier, Schnauzer, Malamute, Boxer, Dachshund, and some other Terriers, Spaniels and Pointers.

Source: PetWave

MATCHING TOPICS OF INTEREST

Black Skin Disease in Dogs

Black Skin Disease in Dogs: Learn about Black Skin Disease (Alopecia X), including how it...

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper in Dogs: Learn about Canine Distemper, including how it can affect your dog,...

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) in Dogs

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia in Dogs: Learn about Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia, including how it affects your...

Roundworm Infection in Dogs

Roundworms in Dogs: Learn about Roundworms, including how they can affect your dog, and what...

Mental Health

Dog Mental Disorders Center:  Here you'll find in-depth information on mental disorders that affect dogs....

PETWAVE: POPULAR TOPICS

Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Nutrition | Cat Nutrition

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2014 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.