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Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid with a decrease in the secretion of the iodine hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothronine (T3).

The function of thyroid hormones

Thyroglobulin is the parent substance of the two hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which have a variety of effects in the body: They stimulate the carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and are therefore jointly responsible for the correct utilization of all nutrients and the supply of all cells with energy. They also regulate the heat balance and influence the production and release of other important hormones.

Disease origin and development

In the case of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), too few of these hormones are produced, with the result that almost all processes in the body are slowed down. Congenital hypothyroidism is extremely rare. Other causes such as iodine deficiency or a disruption of higher-level centers such as the pituitary gland do not play a major role in the development. In about 95% of cases, hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disease. The body’s own defense cells trigger inflammation of the thyroid cells and destroy them.

Clinical picture – symptoms

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are initially normal as the disease progresses insidiously. In addition, the symptoms are extremely diverse and can vary from dog to dog. The dog usually becomes sluggish and listless at first, wants to sleep a lot and proves to be poorly performing. But cases have also been described in which good-natured animals became aggressive due to the hypothyroidism. Many of the affected dogs gain weight despite eating normally. Often the skin reacts to the lack of hormones. The coat becomes dull and bald spots can result from hair loss. The loss of the top hair gives the impression of a baby’s fur. Males and bitches become sterile as the disease progresses.

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This disease cannot be cured. But you can help the dog excellently: He only needs to be supplied with the missing hormones for life – with tablets that he receives twice a day. The exact dose is determined individually. To do this, the dog’s blood values ​​are checked during the initial period of drug administration. The first successes can be seen after four weeks, and after a further three months most of the symptoms should have disappeared. Nothing stands in the way of almost normal life.