Low thyroid is very common in bostons and many times is overlooked by both the owner and the vet.
The most common signs of low thyroid in dogs is:
· Loss and thinning of fur, increased shedding
· A lack of energy and enthusiasm
· Mental dullness
· Weight gain without a change in appetite
· Obesity, difficulty losing weight
· Cold intolerance
· Thickening of the skin
· Slow / difficulty recovering from an injury or surgery
How to diagnosis – the only way to know what your dog’s thyroid levels are is through bloodwork. The recommended test is a T4. Some vets will include a TSH level test as well.
The first thing MABTR looks at is the coat and hair along the back of the legs. A thin coat and bald back legs are a key sign for us to test the thyroid.
Normal range starts at 1.0. Many vet will see test results between 1.0 and 1.4 and state that the thyroid is fine. It is important to note that thyroid levels vary throughout the day and when the blood is drawn. MABTR’s rule of thumb, especially when presented with the above symptoms, is if we have a test result of 1.4 or lower we automatically place the dog on medication because more likely there are points in the day that it drops below the normal 1.0.
For bostons with juvenile cataracts we always test the thyroid even when symptoms do not present themselves as low thyroid and juvenile cataracts are usually paired up. Low thyroid not treated will result in complications from cataract surgery.
Treatment: Levothyroxine, the same medication humans take for low thyroid, is what should be prescribed. Given either once or twice a day. Strongly recommended that once the medication is started that you retest in 30 days to ensure proper dose. If thyroid is in the normal range then retesting is only required once a year.
This medication can be purchased through your vet or at a human pharmacy with a prescription from your vet. It is a very inexpensive drug to give your dog and some pharmacy have a discount program that will include this drug.
If not treated: There is no excuse not to treat low thyroid. The drug cost less than $10 a month. Low thyroid impacts your dog's body to heal in a timely manner after an injury or surgery. If not treated your dog will eventually face mental decline, heart disease, decreased lung function, and abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.