Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs & How it is Treated

Although hyperthyroidism is a relatively rare condition in dogs, when it does occur it can lead to some very serious health concerns for your pooch. In today's post our Tucson vets share some of the most common signs of hyperthyroidism in dogs, and how this condition can be treated.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid is a gland located in your dog's neck which produces essential hormones that work to regulate your dog's body temperature and metabolism. If your dog's thyroid produces too much or not enough of these hormones serious health issues can result.

What causes hyperthyroidism in dogs?

Hyperthyroidism is the condition caused when your pet's thyroid produces an excess amount of hormones. 

Hyperthyroidism is a very serious but relatively rare condition in dogs, which typically results from thyroid carcinoma, (an aggressive and fast growing cancer of the thyroid).

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs?

In the early stages of this condition many dogs will show no signs or symptoms at all.  When the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs do become evident they can include one or more of the following:
  • Swelling under neck
  • Weight loss
  • Gagging and vomiting
  • Increased urination
  • Enlargement of thyroid
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased stool
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Enlarged heart
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Change in bark
  • Facial swelling
  • Heart murmurs

How do vets diagnose hyperthyroidism?

When your veterinarian performs a standard examination on your pup they may may be able to feel a thyroid mass in your dog's neck, or notice that your dog has an increased heart rate.

If the vet believes that your pet may be suffering from hyperthyroidism, diagnostic bloodwork may be recommended to measure thyroid hormone levels and confirm the diagnosis.

Following the initial diagnosis further testing may be helpful in determining the extent of the disease and most appropriate treatment options for your dog. 

What treatment is available for dogs with hyperthyroidism?

In most cases surgery to remove the thyroid tumor gives the best treatment outcome. However this is provided that the mass is freely movable, small, and the cancer has not spread to other parts of your pup's body.

Other treatments including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or iodine therapy may also be used, alone or in combination, depending on the stage of your dog's thyroid cancer, the size of the tumor, and the extent to which nearby tissue is affected. 

Left untreated, thyroid carcinoma is likely to continue to grow and spread to other parts of your dog's body.

Can hyperthyroidism in dogs be treated with natural products?

There are a number of natural treatments for thyroid disorders in dogs, however it's important to speak to your vet before giving your pet any these treatments in order to avoid any unpleasant drug interactions which could occur, and to discuss efficacy of these treatments based on your dog's condition.

What is the prognosis for dogs with hyperthyroidism?

When diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis for dogs with hyperthyroidism or thyroid carcinoma is good. With appropriate treatment many dogs can go on to enjoy an excellent quality of life for 1 - 3 years. 

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.

Is your pup suffering from hyperthyroidism? Contact our Tucson specialty vets today to book a consultation for your dog. We work with your primary care vet to provide your dog with the best possible treatment. 

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in Dogs & How it is Treated

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