Just hoping to cross reference here on our dogs diagnosis this week. Had a feeling her Thyroid was stressed as she has gained weight and was becoming kind of despondent. It was noted too, by our vet, that she was developing a "Rat Tail", black flaking skin; dandruff type and dry hair generally and her blood work confirmed a low Thyroid - T4 <0.5 mg/DL Cholesterol > 125 - 270 mg/DL - her heart rate was good, yet she is a breed (cross) that can often be predisposed to this. Based on this she is now on Thyro 0.8mg twice daily and I asked if her Thyroid could be regulated with Diet alone; she is eating no grains, and was told basically no.
She has responded well in the last couple of days and seems more exited to be running around, so that is great.
Picked up this from the following site:
Hypothyroidism is more commonly seen in dogs than cats. It is typically a result of physical degeneration of the thyroid gland – either from an autoimmune response or atrophy of the thyroid gland. Some holistic veterinarians believe this degeneration may be related to environmental toxin exposure, poor diet and nutrition, over-vaccination, or a combination of these factors. Some dogs have a genetic pre-disposition to the disease. Breeds that are more commonly affected include Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Greyhounds, Irish setters, Dachshunds, and Cocker Spaniels. Hypothyroidism is rare in toy and miniature breeds of dogs.
Over 80% of hypothyroid dogs show some kind of skin abnormality such as thickening in some areas, darkening pigmentation, dry skin, or infections. Other symptoms of Hypothyroidism may include the following:
• Lethargic behavior (lack of interest in play, frequent napping, tiring out easily) [yes]
• Weight gain, sometimes without an apparent gain in appetite [yes, but she is general hungry and eats less then her smaller partner dog]
• Hair loss, especially on the trunk or tail (without associated itching) [yes]
• Cold intolerance/seeking out warm places to lie down [not noticed]
• Slow heart rate [no]
• Chronic ear infections [no]
• Behavioral changes such as aggression, anxiety and/or compulsivity [no to the first and slightly to the second, anxiety, which might be the next, depression]
• Depression [see above]
These symptoms will appear gradually, so it is not uncommon for guardians to miss the initial stage of the disorder. It is generally seen in middle-aged or older dogs. [yes, did miss this as she is a rescure dog and was very thin initially and a large breed, so as she gained weight it was like she was filling out - she is four]
Hypothyroidism is difficult to diagnose despite its seeming simplicity. It is not so straight forward as testing for low thyroid hormone levels and prescribing synthetic hormone replacement. There are a variety of tests available to determine the level of thyroid function and hormones available in the system. Endocrinologists may use multiple tests to make a proper diagnosis. Some veterinarians will prescribe a trial period of synthetic thyroid hormone [color][think he said it was natural?][/color]and, if the response is positive, use this as the means of diagnosis. The problem with this method is that synthetic thyroid hormone acts as a stimulant, so most dogs will respond with increased activity and interest in life. If a dog that is not truly hypothyroid is kept on synthetic thyroid hormones for an extended period, the increased metabolic rate can tax the dog’s system - hastening the aging process and leading to other degenerative conditions. In addition, the use of synthetic thyroid hormone can hasten the degeneration of the thyroid gland. As you can see, proper diagnosis is rather important.
Since most hypothyroid dogs will retain at least some function of the thyroid gland, it may be very useful to support the function of the thyroid gland through the use of supplements, herbs and glandulars – possibly in combination with synthetic thyroid hormone depending on the stage and severity of the issue.
Again, diet is the place to begin (see above under hyperthyroid treatment). A high quality diet supports the body in managing its own endocrine system. As with treating any health issue, provide daily supplements for support of overall health including a good daily multivitamin, digestive enzymes, essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids can be helpful in treating some of the skin abnormalities resulting from hypothyroidism.
Chinese herbal formulas are can be particularly helpful in treating hypothyroidism. Thyroid Boost by Nature’s Herbs for Pets is designed to aid in balancing thyroid function. Again, more advanced Chinese herbal remedies can be prescribed by a holistic veterinarian.
Thyroid Balance Flower Essence by Pet Essences may help address any emotional and behavioral issues resulting from the thyroid imbalance.
Glandular supplements can be prescribed by a holistic veterinarian and are often helpful in supporting thyroid function.
So would like to implement a few natural changes but would be reluctant to change the prescription at this point and realize that to do both might not work and will require a blood monitoring regime regardless - not sure about the best way to manage her thyroid, any advice would be appreciated.