Sammy enjoys his lush new coat.
Sammy presented with an increased pattern of hair loss in the beginning of 2012. After ruling out infection with bacteria or fungus and despite multiple blood tests that suggested that a hormonal disease was unlikely I treated Sammy with a thyroid hormone supplement.
Within 3 months his coat is back to normal and he is now not embarrassed when he goes for coffee in the morning with his owner.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where you have inadequate active thyroid hormone. It is a common human ailment and is also the most common hormone imbalance of dogs. It occurs when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, disease results, a test often shows thyroid hormone levels to be low. This deficiency is produced by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland, by natural atrophy of the gland, by dietary iodine deficiency, or as a congenital problem.
The most common presentation to me of hypothyroidism is:
- 88% had some kind of skin abnormality
- 40% had hair loss (often this starts on the tail leading to a rat tail appearance or a bald area around the collar.)
- 22% had skin infection (often dogs are scaly and smelly due to an excessively oily coat.)
- 14% had brittle or dry coats (often the outer hairs break off leaving a short, softer under coat, classically described as a puppy-like coat.)
- 49% were obese
- 48% were described as lethargic or listless at home
- 36% were anaemic (had a reduced number of red blood cells due to slowed red blood cell production in the bone marrow.) Elevated blood cholesterol levels are also considered a common finding of hypothyroidism.