The thyroid is the hormone-producing gland located in the throat area. Similar to humans, cats and dogs can also suffer from thyroid issues, causing an array of alarming symptoms. Unfortunately, since these symptoms also occur in other diseases and conditions, it can be difficult to diagnose the thyroid problem right away. One of the reasons this is the case, is that it is difficult to pin an exact cause for thyroid problems. Nevertheless this is still fairly common in domestic pets even if the causal conditions contributing to the disease are murky. Here is a quick glance at the thyroid trouble animals can face:

Hypothyroidism: This happens when the thyroid is UNDER producing the thyroid hormone.

Hyperthyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid is OVER producing the thyroid hormone.

Dogs that are older than 5 years seem more susceptible to faulty thyroids, and both conditions manifest in different ways.  Between the two, hypothyroidism is a more common ailment amongst domestic pets. Here are some of the major symptoms of a troubled thyroid.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

  • Excessive shedding/hair loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Common occurrence of infections in the eye, and ear etc.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms

  • Increased appetite and thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive urination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Swollen glands in the throat area
  • Restlessness, agitation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dull coat

Assessment

If you notice any shifts in behavior or appearance in your pet that cohere with the above lists, take him to the vet to be assessed.  There the dog will be tested (through urinalysis or blood tests) for thyroid conditions to analyze the amount of hormone secretion that is occurring in your dog’s thyroid. Some vets may also use thyroid imaging tools like x-rays to observe the tissue around the thyroid or to detect any tumor that may exist.

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