Species affected: Dogs, Cats (rare in cats)
Background: Dogs suffer from hypothyroidism which, in approximately 95% of cases, is an autoimmune disorder equivalent to Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The causes are genetic (common in certain breeds like Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, and many others), environmental, and immunologic (especially, some believe, due to yearly distemper vaccines). Hyperthyroidism is a rare diagnosis in the dog and would likely be due to a thyroid tumor. When cats are hypothyroid, it is usually associated with other systemic disease. When the other disease is cleared up, the thyroid function usually returns to normal.
Symptoms: Obesity, lethargy, intolerance of cold, dull coat, dandruff, skin disease, slow heart rate and metabolism.
Diagnostics: Initial diagnosis of hypothyroidism is notoriously difficult in dogs, especially if the basis for the diagnosis is a simple T4, which is affected by other illnesses, phenobarbital, etc. If the disease has progressed to the point where thyroid function is severely compromised, it is easily diagnosed.
Special Notes: None.
Principles for Supplementation: Natural treatment supports the thyroid gland and immune system; treatment may need to be multifactorial including homeopathy, acupuncture and herbs to make permanent changes.