Thyroid Conditions

Thyroid conditions are under the umbrella of the Endocrine Committee.  If you would like to speak with anyone on the Endocrine Committee, please feel free to call the committee members at the phone number listed in the Membership Directory.  Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of canines, and up to 80% of cases result from autoimmune thyroiditis. The heritable nature of this disorder poses significant genetic implications for breeding stock.

Why the PWDCA is addressing this:

In 2005 the PWDCA health survey reported that 47% of members had concerns about behavior and temperament which can be associated with hypothyroidism.

What the PWDCA is doing:

The committee provides information and support regarding thyroid disorders.  The Thyroid Committee has also collected and stored information for the express purpose of research.

What causes hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism results from impaired production and secretion of thyroid hormones. The production of thyroid hormones is influenced by the pituitary gland, they hypothalamus, and the thyroid gland.

Who gets hypothyroidism:

The disorder usually affects mid to large size dogs and is rare in toy and miniature breeds of dogs. Hypothyroidism most commonly develops in middle aged dogs between ages 4 – 10 years.

What are the symptoms:

  • Lethergy
  • Mental dullness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Neurologic signs
  • Seizures
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Dry scaly skin and dandruff
  • Coarse, dull coat
  • Changes in Temperament
  • Infertility
  • Absence of heat cycles
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Weight Gain or Weight Loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Mood Swings, aggression
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Stunted Growth
  • Chronic Infections
  • Chronic offensive skin odor
  • Bilaterally symmetrical hair loss
  • Seborrhea with greasy skin
  • Prolonged interestrus interval
  • Silent heats
  • Lack of libido

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed:

A complete baseline thyroid profile would include total T4, total T3, free T4, free T3, and TGAA (thyroglobulin autoantibody). It can also include T3 autoantibody or T4 autoantibody as well as canine stimulating hormone TSH.

Other Important References:

“The Canine Thyroid Epidemic”, by W. Jean Dodds DVM, and Diana R. Laverdure

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