Signs of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs & How It Is Treated

Hyperthyroidism is a rare condition in dogs but when it does occur, it can lead to a number of very serious health concerns for our canine companions. Today our Memphis vets explain the most common signs of hyperthyroidism in dogs, and how this condition is treated.

What Your Pup's Thyroid Does

The thyroid is a gland located in your dog's neck that produces important hormones which help to regulate your pet's metabolism and body temperature. When your pup's thyroid produces too much or too little of these essential hormones serious health issues can result. Hyperthyroidism is the condition caused when thyroid hormone levels are too high. 

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is still relatively rare in dogs, although fairly common in cats. That said, when this condition is diagnosed in dogs, it poses very serious health concern. Hyperthyroidism is often the result of thyroid carcinoma, an aggressive and fast growing cancer of the thyroid in dogs.

Signs of Hyperthyroidism That Pet Parents Should Watch For

In the early stages of this condition many dogs will show no symptoms at all, or perhaps just swelling on the underside of neck. When the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs do become evident they can include:
  • Weight loss
  • Gagging
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Increased stool
  • Shortness of breath
  • Enlargement of thyroid
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Change in bark
  • Increased appetite
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Enlarged heart
  • Facial swelling
  • Heart murmurs

Diagnosing Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

When you take your pup to the vet for an examination, your veterinarian may be able to feel a thyroid mass in your dog's neck, or notice that your dog has an increased heart rate. If hyperthyroidism is suspected, diagnostic bloodwork, analyzing thyroid hormone levels will likely be done to help confirm the diagnosis. Following diagnosis further testing may be recommended to help determine the extent of the disease and most appropriate treatment options for your pet. 

Treatment for Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

Surgery to remove the thyroid tumor typically has the best outcome provided that the mass is freely movable, small, and has not spread to other parts of your pup's body.

Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or iodine therapy may 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 are left untreated they are likely to grow quickly and spread to other parts of your pet's body.

Hyperthyroidism in Dogs Natural Treatment

While there are a number of natural treatments for thyroid disorders in dogs, it is essential to speak to your veterinarian before administering any these treatments to your pooch in order to avoid any unpleasant drug interactions, and to discuss efficacy of these treatments based on your dog's overall condition.

Prognosis For Dogs With Hyperthyroidism

The prognosis can be good for dog's that are diagnosed and treated early for hyperthyroidism or thyroid carcinoma. With appropriate treatment many dogs can go on to enjoy an excellent quality of life for 1 - 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.

Are you concerned that your dog may be suffering from hyperthyroidism? Contact our vets at Stage Road Animal Hospital to book an appointment for your pup. Our veterinarians have been offering compassionate care and state-of-the-art diagnostics for Memphis pets since 1974.

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