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Overlooked and Mistaken Hypothyroidism

Many different types of health conditions can affect a dog during his or her lifetime. Some of them are obvious. Some owners recognize easily. Other health problems, however, often go unrecognized. In this category is hypothyroidism.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a hormonal malfunction. The thyroid gland of your dog fails to produce the right quantity of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is an important body part. You can locate the gland on the neck just beneath the voice box. The thyroid is responsible for producing and secreting a number of important hormones. Among the most important of these is thyroxine. This hormone controls regulation of the metabolic rate for several different types of body tissue. Failure to produce sufficient thyroxine can cause major problems. In the condition of hypothyroidism, the lack of thyroxine affects the speed of operation of the the tissues. As a result the overall mechanisms of such things as weight control and energy levels, slows down.

Causal factors in the disorder can be primary or secondary. Primary causes involve the destruction of the gland through several means including inflammation resulting from the actions from the immune system of the dog. In secondary instances, hypothyroidism is the result of another disorder, disease or health issue.

Giant Schnauzer

Who is Affected?

Hypothyroridism strikes dogs between the ages of 4 and 10. It is rare to find the disorder in toy and miniature breeds. It is more common among mid to large size breeds. The breeds appearing to be predisposed to hypothyroidism consist of but are not restricted to:

* Airedale Terrier
* Boxer
* Cocker Spaniel
* Dachshund
* Doberman Pinscher
* Giant Schnauzer
* Golden Retriever
* Great Dane
* Greyhound
* Irish Setter
* Miniature Schnauzer
* Poodle
* Schnauzer

While neither males nor females dominate the statistics, spayed and neutered dogs are more prominently represented than intact canines. Mixed breeds also seem to be less susceptible do the condition as are German Shepherds.

Indicators:
The signs of hyperthyroidism are many. Unfortunately, several can be confused with the symptoms of several other health issues. Others are so subtle as to go unnoticed at the beginning of the malfunctioning of the thyroid gland.

The list of indicators includes:

* Unexplained weight gain
* Lethargy
* Hair loss
* Lack of playfulness
* An intolerance to exercise
* The dog constantly seeks warmth
* He or she wants only to lie cosily in a warm place
* The coat appears to be brittle, thinning and dull, losing its shine
* The skin may be either oily or dry
* The dog suffers from a repeated staph infection
* The dog may have recurrent ear and/or yeast infections

Giant Schnauzer

Treatment:
Treatment for hyperthyroidism becomes an everyday affair. You will have to give your dog a thyroid pill consisting of a synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine). You will need to give your dog the medication once or twice daily for the rest of his or her life. You will also need to take your dog annually to the vet to check the levels of his thyroid hormones.

Conclusion:
Often owners and vets fail to recognize hypothyroidism. The signs may be so minor the dog simply appears to be a little fatter and moving slower. Once correctly diagnosed and treated, the dog can return to a more active and lighter life.

Article provided by Terry Patterson, go to Petflow.com for a Taste of the Wild dog food online!

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