Friday, August 5, 2011

Stella Has a Thyroid Deficiency!

My dog Stella has had a lot of changes over the last year.
  • Increased shedding with a dull and greasy feeling coat, no matter how high the quality of dog food and the amount of essential fatty acid
  • Weight gain, even though she gets a regulated,diet-portion sized serving of food
  • An eye infection that seemed to persist no matter what
  • Re-occurring ear infections
  • Thinning hair along the sides of her back.
  • Less energy - her exuberance dulled
  • Re-occurring skin infections

My vet felt these were allergy symptoms and encouraged me to go on a raw food diet. I declined as it would just add more stress to my already maxed schedule. I found that salmon based dog food was the only variety that didn't aggravate everything.

The eye got better, but then got worse, then better, then worse. When Stella developed a vaginal discharge I decided to go back to my old vet. There we met Dr. Schroeder. She tested Stella's tear production in each eye - almost none in the right eye. Dr. Schroeder diagnosed dry eye syndrome and prescribed the treatment that will help.

When she considered Stella's weight gain and listened to my insistence that my dog gets small portions of dog food, Doc Schroeder looked more closely. The texture of Stella's coat, the excessive hair loss . . . these suggested a thyroid deficiency to Dr. Schroeder. Test results came back this morning!!!!! Stella has a thyroid deficiency.

While we could do additional testing to absolutely confirm this, I think that Stella has just about all of the symptoms. Here is a chart that lists the most common symptoms of thyroid deficiency in dogs and the percentage of dogs with low thyroid that present with each symptom

Clinical SymptomsPercentage of Dogs Showing Symptoms
Lethargy/mental dullness


Hair loss


Weight gain/obesity


Dry hair coat/excessive shedding


Hyperpigmentation of the skin


Cold intolerance


Slow heart rate


High blood cholesterol




Stella has every symptom but hyperpigmentation and a slow heart rate. I am delighted that there is an explanation for the cluster of symptoms that started slowly and eventually really effected Stella's quality of life. I really wish I had been more informed about how low thyroid manifests in dogs.

If your dog has any of the symptoms I discussed, please read this excellent article "Care of Your Hypo-thyroid Dog" by Dr. Hines.

Stella and I are very grateful she now has an accurate diagnosis. Thank you Dr. Schoeder of Sunnybrae Animal Clinic in Arcata.


Kate said...

Glad Stella is back on the road to health - horses can also have thyroid issues, particularly as they age.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Glad you found out what was going on and that she weill be felling better soon

Once Upon an Equine said...

What a relief to have a diagnosis and now a treatment. I hope Stella feels well soon. She looks right at home in that field of daisies.

kerrdelune said...

Glad the ailment was properly diagnosed and hope she is on the road to complete recovery - she is one beautiful girl!

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Thea said...

I was on the other supplement first & had heart problems. It made them worse. Then my hair started falling out in handfuls, and my skin was so dry it cracked. I've only been on natural thyroid supplements this week and my hair & skin are MUCH better !! .

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