Like in humans, thyroid glands are an important part of a dog’s anatomy and they affect a number of different organs in a dog’s body. If a dog’s thyroid gland is not working properly, this can cause problems with the heart, liver, kidneys, brain and skin.
While the importance of these glands is undeniable, pet owners rarely know where they are located or what they look like. More importantly, many are often unfamiliar with common thyroid problems in dogs and what to do about them. Let’s take a look at dogs’ thyroid glands, their role and some common related issues that may affect your pooch.
What’s a Thyroid Gland in a Dog?
Dogs have two thyroid glands which are located on each side of the windpipe at the base of the neck. These glands produce thyroxin, a hormone that accelerates a dog’s metabolic processes and affects other organs in the body. Thyroxin generally stimulates every tissue in the canine body to produce proteins, increases the amount of oxygen that cells use and regulates calcium balance.
Thyroid problems are one of the well-known ailments that affect dogs. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid problem that veterinarians have to deal with, but there are also hyperthyroidism and thyroid tumors.
1. Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Hypothyroidism is a condition when thyroid glands doesn’t produce enough hormones to keep the dog’s metabolism in balance.
What causes hypothyroidism:
This ailment is most often a result of aging in dogs. However, it can also be caused by a malfunction in the dog’s immune system where it’s attacking a thyroid gland, or a shrinking thyroid. In some cases, thyroid tumors (discussed below) can cause hypothyroidism as well.
Some breeds are more prone to this illness than others, especially large and medium sized dogs, including Retrievers, Boxers, Greyhounds, Bulldogs and Great Danes. The list also includes certain smaller breeds like Miniature Schnauzers and Poodles.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Weight gain is one of the typical symptoms of hypothyroidism. Since this ailment slows down a dog’s metabolism, weight gain happens more easily. Dry, sensitive skin is another sign, along with skin sores that may appear. In addition to skin problems, dogs often start shedding and lose hair. A dog’s coat can become…