Prepare for unexpected vet bills
The thyroid is a gland that sits within the lower portion of a dog's neck. It is responsible for producing a variety of hormones that help to regulate the function of multiple systems within the animal's body. Because of this, any disruption of the thyroid's routine can lead to other potentially serious health problems for the animal. In order to resolve the problem with the gland, a vet may prescribe the dog a specific drug. However, in many cases, issues affecting the thyroid are treated with natural remedies, utilizing plants containing certain chemical compounds in order to stabilize the gland. The main advantage of such treatments is their low cost when compared to pharmaceuticals, as well as their wide availability.
Before the dog can regularly start eating the new foods or supplements, there will have to be a period of acclimatization. Owners will have to mix the food in with the animal's regular diet in ever-increasing increments, so that the dog does not reject it and refuse to eat. If the dog does not eat, then this could exacerbate their existing condition, further damaging their health. The naturally occurring chemicals present in many commercially available supplements can also be found in foods such as sea vegetables (iodine), fish (omega oils) and white meat (amino acids). Furthermore, the vet will most likely advise owners to steer clear of processed dog foods containing high levels of carbohydrates, as these can perpetuate the thyroid's already impaired ability to manufacture hormones. It should take a couple of weeks to completely modify the dog's diet, though some owners may find it easier to simply give the animal pill-based supplements than to convince them to eat an entirely new meal.
Improvements in the levels of thyroid function should become gradually apparent as the dog continues to ingest the necessary supplements and foods. If the gland has sustained permanent damage, then the dog will be dependent on its new diet or supplements for the rest of its life. That said, dogs that make a recovery can also continue benefit from the natural remedies used to treat their thyroid condition, meaning that it is perfectly safe to continue such a dietary change. That said, some dog owners may want a more concrete and faster-acting solution for their dog's problem. Man-made drugs such as levothyroxine can be used to regulate the thyroid, having a virtually instantaneous effect and allowing an underactive gland to return to its normal rate of hormone production. That said, the dog may also become dependent on these pills if the level of damage to the thyroid is high enough.
After the new dietary regimen has started, the dog may take a while to get used to the foods being given to it, sometimes needing several weeks to be fully acclimatized. This is especially true of dogs who have previously been existing on bad, carbohydrate-heavy diets with low nutritional value. In such cases, too rapid a change may cause gastrointestinal upset, lengthening the period of time needed to adjust their diet. During this process, the vet will most likely want to perform periodic check-ups on the dog, to make sure that its thyroid is responding to the treatment and is not in need of a pharmaceutical solution.
The supplements required to boost the health of the thyroid gland are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most pharmacies and health food stores for just a few dollars per packet. Most vets will have their preferred brands that have yielded good results in the past and may recommend these instead. Drugs that are specifically designed to treat hypothyroidism may be slightly more expensive, with a bottle of thirty canine levothyroxine pills often costing over $10 to purchase.
Despite the relative ease with which natural hypothyroidism remedies can be incorporated into a dog’s routine, some people have expressed doubt over the treatment's effectiveness. Whilst the natural supplements and dietary changes are not as effective as drugs, they are perfectly adequate for non-emergency situations in which all that is required to resolve the problem is a lifestyle change for the dog. However, in some dogs loss of thyroid function can cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries, putting the dog at severe risk of developing heart problems. This means that the treatment must be fast-acting and effective, making the use of drugs an absolute necessity.
In order to avoid conditions such as hypothyroidism, it is necessary to provide the dog with a balanced and nutritious diet. Whilst pre-made high quality dog food products are available, these tend to be quite expensive, making it far more practical and cost-effective for owners to prepare the dog's meals for the week in bulk at home. This allows full control over the ingredients, taste and texture of the meals, making it easier to meet any special dietary requirements that the dog may have, or to disguise supplements amongst the bulk of the food. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that many cases of thyroid problems are just an unavoidable consequence of the dog aging. In such cases, it is best to simply seek veterinary advice as soon as possible in order to prevent the problem from becoming serious.
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