Breeds Most Susceptible to Dog Hypothyroidism

Dog hypothyroidism is the lack of sufficient thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, which is located in the dog's throat. The thyroid hormones help the metabolism of the dog. There are certain dog breeds that are more susceptible to hypothyroidism.

Breeds Most Susceptible to Dog Hypothyroidism

Dog hypothyroidism may affect any dog breed, but there are a few breeds that are more susceptible to developing hypothyroidism. These breeds include:

  • Boxers
  • Beagles
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Dobermans
  • English Bulldogs
  • Greyhounds
  • Great Danes
  • Retrievers (Golden or Labradors)

There are also a few breeds that are not as likely as the above mentioned breeds to develop hypothyroidism, but are more at risk than other breeds:

  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Border Collies
  • Dalmatians
  • German Shepherds
  • Maltese Dogs
  • Mastiffs
  • Rottweilers
  • Schnauzers
  • Shar Peis
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Terriers
  • Weimaraners

Types of Hypothyroidism

There are 2 main types of hypothyroidism: primary and secondary. The primary hypothyroidism doesn't have a determined cause and it may be inherited and is more frequently seen in Schnauzers (especially giant ones), Toy Fox Terriers or German Shepherds. An iodine deficiency may also lead to hypothyroidism; dogs that are more prone to iodine deficiency include Schnauzers and Boxers.

Secondary hypothyroidism is the type of disease that is caused by a tumor or growth that affects the thyroid gland. This is rare, but may affect all breeds, especially Boxers, Golden Retrievers or Beagles.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The hypothyroidism will manifest through physical and behavioral symptoms such as:

  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Hyperpigmentation or dark patches on the surface of the skin
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Hypotension and lowered pulse
  • The dog will be cold and will require a warmer room or extra blankets
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration cause by the fact that the dog drinks fewer fluids
  • Lethargy
  • Depression

These symptoms may be more subtle or more severe, depending on the severity of the thyroid hormone deficit.

Diagnosing Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed through blood tests that will reveal a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. The vet may also measure the dog's heart rate and perform other tests to determine if there the lack of thyroid hormones has caused any damages in the dog's organism.

The vet will also establish if the hypothyroidism is primary or secondary.

Treatment Options

Primary hypothyroidism can be managed with medication which should be administered on a daily basis. The thyroid hormone may be replaced by L-thyroxine, which is available as a liquid, tablet or a chewable medication.

The dosage of hormones should be changed and the condition of the dog must be permanently monitored.

If the condition is severe, surgery may be recommended.

Secondary hypothyroidism will focus on treating the underlying condition. Hypothyroidism medications will also be administered until the dog's condition is stable.