Before With Supplement
Normal thyroid levels are important to maintain all body functions. The thyroid controls metabolism. Hypothyroidism is a disease caused by insufficient levels of or the body's abnormal use of thyroid hormone. If the thyroid is low, the rate of metabolism decreases and pets cannot maintain a normal level of health.
Hypothyroidism generally occurs in dogs compared to cats that most commonly may become hyperthyroid. Hypothyroidism may be develop from one of several causes. In some pets, the pituitary gland is involved, but most cases are due to inadequate production of hormones by the thyroid. Many pets have a thyroiditis, usually a condition brought about by the immune system attacking the thyroid glands. The condition rarely appears in pets under 2 years of age; middle- aged or older pets are usually affected. The condition may develop slowly over months.
Owners may interpret some of the signs of thyroid disease such as lack of energy as laziness or just signs of old age. Signs include some or all of the following: reduced stamina increased sleeping, weight gain with normal or reduced caloric intake, reduced tolerance to cold, dry or thin coat and skin, premature graying of the muzzle, hair loss, slow hair growth, recurrent skin infections, and the appearance of dark pigment in the skin. Hypothyroidism can cause neurologic deficits which may manifest in a variety of signs typically weakness. The face may appear puffy or have a tragic expression, the skin may also appear to have edema or thickening. Hypothyroidism thyroid levels can lead to deterioration of the muscles of the heart leading to dilatative heart failure. Sexually intact animals may have decreased fertility and associated signs.
Important Points in Treatment
1. Blood tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor treatment.
2. Initial thyroid level values must be interpreted with knowledge of a full physical exam and general lab values.
3. Hypothyroidism is controlled rather than cured, and lifetime therapy is necessary.
4. Thyroid levels will be monitored. Both response to supplementation as well as blood thyroid levels will be evaluated.
5. Medication must be given as directed. Call the doctor if you cannot give the medication.