|CT3, T4, Free T4 and Free T3onversion of T4 to T3||autoimmune thyroiditis|
You may have noticed
your dog is putting on a few pounds lately although you havenít changed
its diet. Your Pei has a skin condition, lack of energy! After taking your pet to your vet, it has been discovered that
your pet has an under active thyroid gland.
What is Hypothyroidism? (Thyroid tests should include T3, T4, Free T4 and Free T3 and antibodies for both T4 and T3)
Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland (two small lobes located in the neck ) secretes insufficient thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism isnít life threatening if treated properly, but it does diminish quality of life. Once diagnosed, however, the disorder is relatively easy to treat.
The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormones that are critical to maintaining your dogís normal metabolic rate. This is the speed at which the body converts nutrient energy into energy fuelling the body. If the thyroid gland degenerates or becomes inflamed, it can no longer produce sufficient quantities of hormones. As a result, cells donít convert the nutritional energy it needs into biologically usable fuel as fast as usual.
This decreased cell function causes a number of physical changes in a hypothyroid dog. Nearly half of such dogs gain weight (with no change in diet). Over a third become lethargic and mentally dull, and just under a third show hair or skin abnormalities. Hair-producing cells slow down, so there is less hair growth and more hair loss. Skin-producing cells slow down, so there is more wrinkling andhyperpigmentation, skin thickening, poor quality hair coat, excess scurf and scale, seborrhoea and secondary pyoderma. hypothyroid pets may suffer an increased propensity to joint disease, especially ligament damage...
Some vets also suspect a link between behaviour problems and hypothyroidism. Increased aggression is the most commonly suspected behaviour change, but some vets speculate that a few hypothyroid dogs may develop anxiety- related or compulsive behaviours. If your pet develops a sudden behavioural change, have your dogs thyroid status examined.
Since the physical signs of hypothyroidism
develop gradually and vary from dog to dog, the disorder often goes
undiagnosed. But vets have found that hypothyroidism typically develops
after 2 years of age and is more common in certain breeds such as Golden
Retrievers, Sharpei, Doberman Pinschers, While all owners
should be on the lookout for changes in their dogís appearance or
behaviour that suggest hypothyroidism, owners of middle-aged dogs or
genetically predisposed dogs should be especially watchful. If you notice
any signs, consult your vet. By simply taking a sample of your
dogís blood, it can be determined if the dog has hypothyroidism...
tests should include T3, T4, Free T4 and Free T3 and antibodies for both
T4 and T3.
Here is where it begins to get a little complicated, but I'll do the best I can to help simplify it. The thyroid gland itself is regulated by two different hormones, TRH and TSH. Now, if T4 gets too low, (remember it's not usable yet when it starts travelling around the body) the brain tells the TRH, "Hey, wake up, go get TSH and tell him to get to work!" Now TRH knows that TSH 'hangs out' at the nearby Pituitary gland, and so heads straight there to find him. Well, as soon as TSH hears about the thyroid shortage he races to the thyroid gland and stimulates it to get busy and produce more thyroid hormone. Hence , being the first one to be released into active duty, TRH is the THYROID RELEASING HORMONE. while TSH stands for THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE ...
As a consequence of all of this, Hypothyroidism (the shortage of usable thyroid in the body) is usually the condition seen when a thyroid imbalance is suspected. Hypothyroidism is becoming all too common in our breed and it would be desirable if all of our breeding dogs were tested...
Why do skin problems seem to go hand in hand with thyroid imbalance? In order for our dogs to have healthy skin and coats, the cells that make up the body must be healthy and multiply. It is not fully understood, but thyroid hormone is essential in regulating the metabolism of each individual cell. Whenever the cells cannot function efficiently, one of the visible results is the skin will loose it's elasticity, and can ultimately result in dry, crusty, scaly skin. The end result can be a dog with a very sparse coat and a dull, almost hardened gray skin that will have a obnoxious odour. A dog left untreated will be miserable with uncontrollable itching all over and will further damage itself by chewing to the point of producing raw and oozing sores, a condition ideal for bacterial infections to flourish...
It is found to be a fact that hypothyroidism is definitely associated with reduced resistance and a greater susceptibility to bacterial infections. So if your dog develops any type of skin ailment or a wound that does not seem to respond readily to treatment, you might want to check for a thyroid deficiency...
Clinical signs of Hypothyroidism
Other Associated Disorders
would seem to be as simple as measuring thyroid-hormone levels in the
blood. However, this simple technique can give an inaccurate diagnosis
because some illness such as Cushing's disease- overactive adrenal
glands-- and medications, such as cortisone suppress the level of
circulating thyroid hormones.
The most accurate test is the - thyroid stimulating hormone -TSH- response test. In this test, the vet measures thyroid-hormone levels in the dogís blood, administers TSH (a chemical that stimulates thyroid-hormone secretion), then re-measures hormone levels to determine whether the thyroid gland responded by producing additional thyroid hormones. While the TSH response test is reasonably accurate, it is expensive to administer. Also, this hormone is now difficult to find because of decreased production by the manufacturers.
Newer tests are available, that are as accurate (although not 100 percent) and less expensive than the TSH response test. With these tests the a combination of the levels of thyroid hormone -T4- and a specific thyroid hormone-Free T4 - as well as the level of TSH in a dogís blood are measured. Hypothyroid dogs have both a high TSH level and a low free-T4 level.
Vets treat hypothyroidism by prescribing supplemental thyroid hormone, which the owner must administer to the dog orally once or twice a day. These medications are initially prescribed according to your petís weight. Your vet will closely monitor your dog in the initial stage of treatment by retesting the thyroid level- T4- to make sure the animal is getting the appropriate dosage. Too little hormone wonít alleviate the signs, while too much can cause a dog to develop hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormone causing agitated and overactive behaviour, weight loss, excessive drinking, and excessive urination).
Once thyroid- hormone levels have stabilized within a normal range, your vet will likely check the levels every six months to every year. The dose levels of medication used to treat this disease in dogs is much higher than the rate use to treat hypothyroidism in people.
Once treatment begins, most
hypothyroid dogs are increasingly active and show fewer behaviour problems
within a week. Hair growth typically accelerates in about a week, too,
although bare spots may take months to fully grow in. Most dogs begin to
lose excess weight within 2 to 4 weeks of starting treatment.
If you suspect hypothyroidism, consult your vet. The treatment for hypothyroidism is straightforward, and the medication is relatively inexpensive...
Thyroid tests should include T3, T4, Free T4 and Free T3 and antibodies for both T4 and T3 for sharpei dogs
If youíve read this far, youíve learned quite a bit about this disease. But whatís the good news about this condition? After all, no one wants to care for a dog with a life long illness. The good news is the prescribed, thyroid medication has few side effects and is of a reasonable cost. Even better news is once the diagnosis is made and the dog supported with replacement hormones, a dramatic improvement in the animalís condition will result and most, if not all, disease signs will reverse. The treatment is relatively simple, relatively inexpensive, easy to deliver, and effective. In short, hypothyroidism is quite manageable and that, my friend, is the very best news of all. Why? Because it gives us a chance for a lifetime of togetherness with our wonderful Sharpei companions...
GENETIC OR CAUSED
Because of the amazing number of breeds that have developed this "hereditary" problem, many scientists are beginning to look for a man-made cause to this problem. Evidence is pointing towards the possibility of common environmental toxins, vaccine overload, and the diet being fed to today's dogs being the causative agent of hypothyroidism. All of these theories need further investigation, but are interesting possibilities. Let's look at a few of them...
Many of today's pesticides mimic the structure
of mammalian hormones. Further, chicken, and beef are often laced with
steroids and antibiotics on purpose to increase mass for market.
dogs have a genetic susceptibility to diseases that attack their own
immune system. Researchers suspect that these immune-mediated diseases may
be triggered by environmental chemicals, viruses, repeated inoculation
with multi-valent modified live vaccines, and other immune system
challengers. It is reasonable to hypothesize
that some canine endocrine problems may be caused by these additives...Affected
Dog's should not be boosterd.
Hereditary. Affected Dog's should not be Bred From!...
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