My dog is sad and limping
Is your dog too fat?
Think he’s a glutton and enjoys what he eats a little too much?
Do you find him slow, tired, not playful, lethargic?
How about hypothyroidism in dogs?
Yep, it’s not just for humans and our four-legged friends can suffer from it too!
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is one of the endocrine diseases most diagnosed by veterinarians.
It most often affects middle-aged dogs (but not only) and certain predisposed breeds such as:
– golden retriever
– dashan de wassigny
– Irish setter
– miniature schnauzer
– cocker spaniel
– chow chow
The thyroid is an essential gland for the body because it regulates the metabolism.
Made up of two butterfly-shaped ganglia located at the base of the neck, its dysfunction results in a decrease in thyroid hormone.
The result is a slowing down of the metabolism and therefore a slowing down of all bodily functions.
The different forms of hypothyroidism
- Primary hypothyroidism : the thyroid no longer secretes hormones even if the patient is asymptomatic.
Its origin is most often linked to immune dysfunction.
- Secondary hypothyroidism: the thyroid is no longer stimulated by a lack of HRT (thyroid stimulating hormone).
- Tertiary hypothyroidism: the thyroid is out of order due to lack of TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone)
- Lymphocytic thyroiditis : rarer form, it results in destruction of thyroid cells by production of antibody.
This is a rapid disease (12 to 36 months) which only declares hypothyroidism when the thyroid is completely destroyed.
- Idiopathic atrophy : also a rare form, fat cells gradually replace thyroid cells.
To date, its cause is unexplained.
The consequences of hypothyroidism for your dog
Hypothyroidism is a very common problem in dogs that significantly affects their quality of life.
This is not a medical emergency but it is very helpful to test and treat it if necessary.
A thyroid problem mainly results in:
- overweight while appetite remains the same
- exercise intolerance
- a skin disease
Other signs can also be revealing like:
- hair loss
- corneal damage
- facial edema
- breathing difficulties
- modification of the voice timbre
- frequent chilliness
- behavioral disorders
Because a poorly functioning thyroid causes a slower metabolism.
Most dogs with hormonal imbalances are not as active as others.
Their skin and coat are not as healthy and shiny.
They are often prone to skin infections, ear infections and have a natural tendency to scratch frequently.
How to diagnose hypothyroidism in dogs
With these corroborating visual elements, the veterinarian’s diagnosis is quickly made.
Clinical signs of hypothyroidism result in insufficient hormone production:
- thyroxine also known as T4
- tri-iodothyronine known as T3
These hormones play a major role in the dog’s metabolism.
The veterinarian therefore performs a blood and urine test for which he obtains a rapid result determining the precise T4 levels.
Hypothyroidism in dogs treatment
The veterinarian prescribes a suitable treatment (levothyroxine sodium) which increases his metabolism to burn calories and thus make him lose weight.
This treatment will also help him regain energy and restore a more cheerful mood.
His skin problems will go away along with his dull hair, his ear problems will be behind him.
The initiation of this treatment requires monthly monitoring in the early stages to adjust the adequate dosage.
Subsequently, a semi-annual follow-up is ensured to carry out new blood tests and adapt the treatment according to the results.
Unfortunately, this treatment is not without side effects and they manifest in some dogs as listlessness or hyperactivity, tachycardia, hair loss, loss of appetite or bulimia, etc.
Dog hypothyroidism natural treatment
If the veterinarian will choose to replace a deficient hormone with a synthetic hormone, it is suspected that in many cases the real cause is autoimmune disease.
This is autoimmune thyroiditis : the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes a decrease in production hormones.
The natural protocol proposed here (and which I implemented for one of my dogs) aims to reduce the damage caused to the thyroid by this autoimmune attack and provide the body with the nutrients it needs to help it produce the deficient hormones.
Researchers now confirm that there is a clear link between gut health and thyroid dysfunction.
In the case of autoimmune diseases, they note that they are very often associated with intestinal damage of the hyper-porosity type or celiac disease.
So an intestine that has become porous and inflamed allows unwanted particles to pass through that will upset the immune system and cause damage.
By reducing the inflammation of the intestines through the balance of the microbiota, we manage to restore the good assimilation of essential micronutrients while reducing the attack on thyroid.
To achieve this, probiotics and in particular lactobacillus acidophilus are the most documented.
You should aim for a minimum dosage of 100 million lactic acid bacteria for 10 pounds of weight once a day with a meal.
In capsules, you can give it as is in the mouth or open the capsule and directly sprinkle the food.
Zinc is a vital mineral for the production of thyroid hormones.
It acts on the production and activity of THR as well as on the activity of T3.
You should know that a zinc deficiency triggers hypothyroidism.
For dog, a zinc dose of 25mg for 50 pounds should be considered once a day at mealtime (nausea if the stomach is empty).
If your dog’s diet contains a lot of red meat or if you give him a sheet of nori every day, you can limit the intake zinc.
Selenium is a micro-nutrient very involved in the production of thyroid hormones.
A deficiency can induce a decrease in the conversion of T3 to T4 and thus generate signs of hypothyroidism.
Studies on humans show that it significantly increases hormone levels naturally and protects the thyroid by allowing it to benefit from its antioxidants effects.
For dogs, the recommended dosage is 1 to 2 micrograms per pound once a day.
Iodine is a key micronutrient in hormonal diseases.
The major problem with iodine supplementation is the risk of overdose since in this specific case a tiny dose is required.
It is therefore best to give it as seaweed, a very natural and safe way to increase your dog’s iodine level.
Nori seaweed is very rich in:
- B3, B9 vitamins
- vitamin C
- vitamin A
Its richness in essential nutrients is a great ally for the treatment of hypothyroidism.
It contains all essential amino acids, dietary fiber while being low in fat.
Its phytonutrients and proteins help the body to function optimally.
It also helps fight obesity while working against high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, cancerous tumors and even constipation.
It is the ideal algae to revive the metabolism while energizing your doggy.
You can safely feed a whole dehydrated nori sheet once a day for a 50 pounds dog (half for a 10 pounds dog).
Dogs love its taste. You will have no difficulty giving it as is or mixed with his diet.
Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng.
Numerous studies show a clear benefit for animals with hypothyroidism due to its stabilizing action.
Ashwagandha has often been used to treat arthritis for years because of its anti-inflammatory action and has an adaptogenic effect, if the hormone level is too high it is lowered, if it is too low it is increased.
They further reveal that this plant stimulates the thyroid by increasing the production of T4 hormones in females and T3-T4 in males.
It also has an interesting anti-stress action when we know that anxiety causes a decrease in the production of the thyroid stimulating hormone.
The recommended dosage for dogs is 400mg for 50 pounds of weight once a day.
Hypothyroidism is a very common condition in dogs that requires special attention.
There are two ways to treat it: a medical approach or a holistic approach.
Some will choose to rely on synthetic hormones to counteract the imbalance.
Others will prefer a long-term treatment that is gentler and natural but just as effective.
The key is to find a profitable solution for your companion to offer him a more active and less stressful life.
If you are unsure, start with nori sheets and selenium supplementation combined with probiotics as I did for my dog.
You will notice the changes over the weeks: a boost of energy, a stabilized mood, a more lively and happy dog.
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