General Information:

Hypothyroidism is a disease caused by insufficient levels or the body's abnormal use of thyroid hormone. In some pets, the pituitary gland is involved, but most cases are due to inadequate production of hormones by the thyroid.

The condition rarely appears in pets under 2 years of age; middle-aged or older pets are usually affected. Signs include some or all of the following: reduced stamina, increased sleeping, reduced tolerance to cold, dry coat and skin, premature graying of the muzzle, hair loss, slow hair growth, recurrent skin infections, and the appearance of dark pigment in the skin. The face may appear puffy, and females may have irregular cycles and/or reduced fertility. Males may have a shrinkage of the testes and show less interest in females.

Treatment Information:

1. Blood tests are necessary to diagnose the condition and monitor treatment.

2. Hypothyroidism is controlled rather than cured, and lifetime therapy is necessary.

3. Diet: No significant change in diet is recommended. A good quality food will be fine.

4. Activity: You may notice an increase in your pet's activity after therapy has begun.

5. Medication must be given as directed. Call your vet's office if you cannot give the medication.