Low thyroid is called hypothyroidism and is primarily a disease of dogs. Cats usually get the opposite problem, called hyperthyroidism. It occurs when the immune system makes antibodies against the thyroid gland.
Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, lethargy, and skin problem. Sometimes. we might see neurologic symptoms, eye problems, bone problems and heart problems. It all depends on how long the problem has been present and how severe it is.
This disease is diagnosed first with a thorough history and physical exam. Routine blood panels may provide a clue. The definitive diagnosis is made by a thyroid test. We’re checking a hormone, which means there is fluctuation in the thyroid level throughout the day. This test may need to be repeated to look for a consistent trend.
Other diseases in the body can cause the thyroid level to go low. This can mimic hypothyroidism, when in reality this is not the case. In these cases, a more specific thyroid test is necessary.
This disease is easily treated with supplemental thyroid hormones. It needs to be given twice daily for the rest of your pet’s life. Your vet needs to check this level every six months to make sure your pet is on the proper amount of supplementation.
You can learn much more about this by linking to our web page on hypothyroidism.
Above, left: This terrier has hyperpigmentation on its neck. Hypothyroidism is not the only potential cause of this condition. Photo courtesy of LBAH.