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Symptoms & Treatments for Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

Hyperthyroidism can pose a very serious health concern for dogs. This relatively rare condition in dogs requires early diagnosis and fast treatment in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your pup. Today our Southeast Memphis vets explain more about the symptoms, causes and treatment for hyperthyroidism in dogs.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid is a gland located in your pup's neck that is responsible for producing a number of important hormones which help to regulate body temperature and metabolism. When your dog's thyroid hormones become too high or too low they can cause serious health issues. 

What causes hyperthyroidism in dogs?

If your pup's thyroid is producing too much hormone, they will be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. 

Although it is relatively rare in dogs, hyperthyroidism is very serious health concern typically caused by thyroid carcinoma, (an aggressive and fast growing cancer).

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in dogs?

Many dogs will show no symptoms at all in the early stages of hyperthyroidism, or perhaps just a lump on the underside of their neck. That said, when symptoms do become evident they can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Gagging
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Increased stool
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Enlarged heart
  • Facial swelling
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Increased thirst
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Diarrhea
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart murmurs
  • Shortness of breath
  • Change in bark

How do vets diagnose hyperthyroidism?

During an examination, your vet may be able to feel a thyroid mass in your dog's neck, or detect an increased heart rate. Bloodwork to measure thyroid hormone levels will likely be done to help confirm a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

Following an initial diagnosis of the condition, further testing may be recommended to help determine the extent of the disease and most appropriate treatment for your pup. 

Is treatment available for dogs with hyperthyroidism?

Surgery to remove the thyroid tumor is typically the best treatment option and offers good results provided that the mass is freely movable, less than 4cm in size, and has not yet spread.

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

If your dog's thyroid tumor is left untreated it is likely to grow rapidly and spread to other parts of your pet's body.

What is the prognosis for dogs diagnosed with hyperthyroidism?

In dog's that are diagnosed and treated early the prognosis is generally good. With appropriate treatment many dogs go on to enjoy a long survival time, and good quality of life. 

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.

If your dog is experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism contact your Memphis vet at Southwind Animal Hospital to schedule an examination. Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to the best possible outcomes. 

Hyperthyroidism in dogs, Southeast Memphis veterinarian

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