While it is rare for dogs to get hyperthyroidism, it does happen. In this post, our Elk Grove vets talk about hyperthyroidism in dogs and how it's treated.
A Dog's Thyroid
The thyroid is a gland located in your dog's neck that produces important hormones which help regulate your pup's metabolism and body temperature. When your pup's thyroid produces too much or too little of these essential hormones, serious health issues can arise. Hyperthyroidism occurs when thyroid hormone levels are too high.
The Causes of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs
While hyperthyroidism is fairly common in cats, it's still relatively rare in dogs. That said, when dogs are diagnosed with this condition, it poses a very serious health concern. Hyperthyroidism is often the result of thyroid carcinoma, an aggressive and fast-growing cancer of the thyroid in dogs.
Signs & Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in DogsWhen this condition is in its early stages, many dogs won't show any symptoms at all, or perhaps just swelling on the underside of their neck. When the symptoms of hyperthyroidism do become evident in dogs they can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Increased stool
- Difficulties swallowing
- Enlargement of thyroid
- Increased thirst
- Change in bark
- Congestive heart failure
- Increased appetite
- Facial swelling
- Enlarged heart
- Rapid heart rate
- Heart murmurs
Diagnosing Dogs With Hyperthyroidism
When you take your dog to the vet for an examination, your veterinarian may be able to feel a thyroid mass in your dog's neck or notice if your dog has an increased heart rate. If your vet suspects hyperthyroidism, they will likely conduct diagnostic bloodwork and analyze your pup's thyroid hormone levels to help confirm the diagnosis. Following diagnosis, they might recommend further testing to help determine the extent of the disease and the most appropriate treatment options for your pet.
Treating Hyperthyroidism in Dogs
Surgery to remove the thyroid tumor typically has the best outcome if the mass is freely movable, small, and has not spread to other parts of your dog's body.
Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or iodine therapy might also be used, either alone or in combination, depending on the stage of your dog's thyroid cancer, tumor size, and the extent to which nearby tissue is affected.
If thyroid tumors go without treatment, they will likely grow quickly and spread to other parts of your pup's body.
Natural Treatments For Dogs With Hyperthyroidism
While there are a handful of natural treatments for thyroid disorders in dogs, it is imperative that you talk to your veterinarian before administering any of these treatments to your pup in order to prevent any unpleasant drug interactions and to discuss the efficacy of these treatments based on your dog's overall condition.
The Prognosis For Dogs That Have Hyperthyroidism
The prognosis can be good for dogs that are diagnosed and treated for hyperthyroidism or thyroid carcinoma early. With the appropriate treatment, lots of dogs can go on to enjoy a good quality of life for 1 to 3 years.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.