Hyperthyroidism is relatively rare in dogs. However, the condition is a serious health concern that needs to be treated quickly to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes. Today, our the Pacific Northwest vets discuss hyperthyroidism in dogs.
What does the thyroid do?
Your pooch’s thyroid is located in the neck and produces a number of vital hormones that help regulate your dog’s metabolism and body temperature.
When there is a lack or excess of thyroid hormones, this can cause serious health problems for your dog. If your dog’s thyroid is producing too much hormone, your veterinarian will diagnose him or her with hyperthyroidism.
What causes hyperthyroidism in dogs?
Though hyperthyroidism is becoming increasingly common in cats, it is still relatively rare in dogs. When we do see dogs with the condition, it is a very serious health concern. In most cases, hyperthyroidism in dogs is caused by thyroid carcinoma, an agressive and fast-growing cancer.
What are signs of hyperthyroidism in dogs?
Dogs may not display any symptoms in the early stages of this disease, or you may notice a lump on the underside of your pup’s neck. When they do exhibit symptoms, these may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased stool
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Change in bark
- Increased thirst
- Enlargement of thyroid
- Congestive heart failure
- Facial swelling
- Heart murmurs
- Rapid heart rate
- Enlarged heart
- Difficulty swallowing
- Increased appetite
How is hyperthyroidism in dogs diagnosed?
Upon examination, your vet may be able to feel a thyroid mass in your dog's neck, or note an increased heart rate. Diagnostic bloodwork, analyzing thyroid hormone levels will likely be done to help confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. Following diagnosis further testing may be recommended to help determine the extent of the disease and most appropriate treatment options.
How is hyperthyroidism in dogs treated?
When it comes to hyperthyroidism in dogs, surgery to remove the thyroid tumor typically has the best outcome provided that the mass is freely movable, less than 4cm in size, and has not yet spread to other parts of your pet's body.
Other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or iodine therapy may also be used, either alone or in combination, depending on the stage of the thyroid cancer, tumor size, and the extent to which nearby tissue is affected.
Left untreated thyroid tumors are likely to grow very quickly and spread to other parts of your pet's body.
What is the prognosis for dogs with hyperthyroidism?
The prognosis is good for dog's that are diagnosed and treated early. With appropriate treatment many dogs can go on to enjoy a long survival time, and excellent quality of life.
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.