Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Excess Thyroid Hormone?

Hyperthyroidism is a rare condition in which excessive amounts of thyroid hormones are produced, leading to a high metabolic rate. Dogs with hyperthyroidism are usually hungry or thirsty regardless of how much food or water they have consumed. Because canine hyperthyroidism is often caused by thyroid carcinoma, early diagnosis and treatment is important for a good prognosis.

Thyroid hormones regulate your dog’s metabolic rate. When an excessive amount is produced as in hyperthyroidism, dogs may develop severe metabolic problems. Hyperthyroidism is rarely seen in dogs and is typically a result of thyroid carcinoma, which requires early detection and prompt treatment for a better rate of survival.

Excess Thyroid Hormone Average Cost

From 4 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,000

Average Cost

$4,000

Symptoms of Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

Dogs with hyperthyroidism are often asymptomatic, but potential clinical signs include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Increased water consumption
  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty and rapid breathing - especially during exercise
  • Enlarged thyroid gland - the simplest way to identify is to feel around the neck for a small lump
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid heart rate ("gallop rhythm")

These symptoms reflect the increased metabolic rate that comes with overproduction of thyroid hormones.

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Causes of Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

Thyroid cancer is much rarer than hypothyroidism and is typically caused by thyroid carcinoma, or cancer. Older dogs are more at risk of hyperthyroidism, and Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and Beagles are especially predisposed to thyroid cancer. The condition can also arise as a response to medication for hypothyroidism or from consuming meat contaminated with thyroid tissue, which may occur in dogs that are fed a raw diet.

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Diagnosis of Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

As with most hospital visits, the veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and take a history, which will provide a clearer picture of your dog’s condition and overall health. With dogs whose hyperthyroidism is a result of thyroid carcinoma, the tumor can typically be felt as a firm mass in the neck, which may be movable or fixed depending on the extent of the cancer. During the examination, the veterinarian may run a chemical blood profile, urinalysis, and a complete blood count.

Hyperthyroidism is most commonly diagnosed when a high concentration of thyroid hormone is detected in the blood. This can be measured through a general blood test and by assessing the total T3 and T4 levels. If a tumor is present, further diagnostic tests will be necessary to discover how far the cancer has spread. Imaging and thyroid biopsy may be recommended in these cases.

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Treatment of Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

Treatment for hyperthyroidism varies according to the underlying cause of the condition. For dogs that present with clinical signs as the result of a raw fed diet, a change in their meals may resolve the symptoms. Provide your dog with a variety of cuts to avoid feeding too much meat that may contain thyroid tissue.

Outpatient management is the usual outcome of a veterinarian visit resulting in hyperthyroidism. The veterinarian may prescribe anti-thyroid medication that is aimed at preventing an excessive production of hormones. With these drugs, however, you will need to be careful not to administer too much, as otherwise your dog may begin exhibiting signs of hypothyroidism once the symptoms of hyperthyroidism have abated. If the overproduction of hormones persists, part or all of the thyroid may be surgically removed as necessary.

If your dog is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism due to thyroid carcinoma, the cancer will need to be treated. Radioactive iodine, chemotherapy, and local radiotherapy may be helpful in combating localized tumors, although surgery may be required to remove the thyroid tumor. The radioiodine treatment will be completed in the hospital, usually in a special environment, as the treatment is radioactive and dangerous. If your dog receives cancer treatment, he/she may need to be hospitalized based on the city and state guidelines. Radioactive medicine needs time to clear the body as it can pose a danger to other pets, family members, and outsiders.

In cases where the hyperthyroidism arose because of carcinoma, the hyperthyroidism should correct itself once the cancer has been addressed.

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Recovery of Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs

As you adjust your dog’s diet or administer anti-thyroid medication, you will notice that your dog is gradually consuming less food and water. The clinical signs will continue to abate as the thyroid hormone production levels return to normal. Monitor your dog daily for additional symptoms, and if your dog is taking anti-thyroid medication, watch for signs of hypothyroidism – that is, the condition in which not enough thyroid hormones are produced.

If your dog underwent surgery or chemotherapy in response to thyroid carcinoma, make sure that he or she has a comfortable place to rest while recovering. The veterinarian will prefer to reexamine your dog upwards of every two weeks during the initial three to four months of treatment. The veterinarian will continue to run tests, including a complete blood count, to measure the concentration of T4.

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Excess Thyroid Hormone Average Cost

From 4 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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Excess Thyroid Hormone Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

Raven

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great swiss mtn

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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5 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

5 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Lethargic
Weight Gain
Weight Gain Loss Of Appetiate

Around the 1st week in Dec. my dog developed what was diagnosed as a hot spot. this arose after she had a small cut on her cheek maybe the size of a pea. within a few days it was approx 4x3 inches off to the vet we go. she was given some steroidal meds, pain pills and a topical salve as well as a cone. after three weeks her face was looking much better. then we noticed a lump on her mid rib cage to the vet again we also noticed she looked like she had gained weight even though she had at best been eating 2 1/2 cups of food a day she was very lethargic and sleeping alot and she seemed to be stiff in her hind quarters She had indeed gain approximately 8 pds in a period of less than 3 weeks. Vet took blood and results came back with Hyperthyroidism and valley fever. She is now taking Dasuquan,L-Thyroxine 0.8mg tablet (Soloxine 0.8mg) 2x daily and Fluoconazole 305mg 2x daily. All this has occurred in the last 7 weeks. Raven is a 7 yr old Greater Swiss Mtn/Australian cattle dog mix. Raven has never been sick before with any illness. Is always kept up to date on her shots gets her monthly heartworm meds. Question: is this common for all of these issues to come to light all at once. Should I insist on Xrays to make sure there is not something else causing this?

Jan. 25, 2018

Raven's Owner


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5 Recommendations

In this case I don’t see much value in an x-ray unless there are signs of something else occurring; Valley Fever is a severe fungal infection which can take months to treat. Soloxine (levothyroxine) is used to treat hypothyroidism and a balance needs to be found but may be complicated by the Valley Fever. If you have concerns, discuss them with your Veterinarian as they will be familiar with Raven’s case. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 25, 2018

There's a stray in our area whose hind legs became inoperative and he started dragging them. Vets couldn't find reason. Somebody advised thyroid test and sure enough he had hyperthyroidism. Hope he recovers even though this symptom has not been mentioned in the article.

Feb. 27, 2018

Ashok Kumar K.


My dog is on thyroid medicine ( levothyroxine .2mg)for a month now. I noticed he is drinking a lot of water and panting excessively.

March 23, 2018

Rose N.


In hyperthyroidism in dogs is it common to have frequent, loose, light-colored stools? In hyperthyroidism is it very common to be able to palpate nodules or a mass around the thyroid gland?

Sept. 12, 2018

Google R.

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Ruffian

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Yorkshire Terrier

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10 Years

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

My vet ran bloodwork that showed high T4 levels. She ran the free T4 level bloodwork and that returned as normal. I cannot find any information on this situation. She said it could be diet but he's been on premium dog food his whole life. I even checked the FDA for recalls but there are none. What could be happening, and more importantly what can I do to help my little Ruffian out?

Nov. 7, 2017

Ruffian's Owner

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2 Recommendations

Free T4 is a more accurate measure of thyroid activity than total T4 as total T4 may be influenced by many factors. I would follow more the results of the free T4 than the total T4 since hormones, medicines, diet and other external factors may elevate or suppress total T4. If you have further concerns, I would consult with an Endocrinologist for more information. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 7, 2017

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Excess Thyroid Hormone Average Cost

From 4 quotes ranging from $500 - $7,000

Average Cost

$4,000

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