Hemp Oil for Dogs With Hypothyroidism
Several pet owners would attest that hypothyroidism in dogs is a common problem that does not pose a life-threatening risk. This does not mean, however, that you should just let your dog suffer from it, especially since prolonging this condition could lead to fatal consequences. Fortunately, there are treatment options that have been proven to be effective while remaining budget-friendly.
Before heading out for a consultation though, take the time to learn about hypothyroidism in order to prevent its onset, and to detect earlier if your dog is exhibiting its symptoms. Knowing how hypothyroidism affects your dog will also help you understand the treatment plan recommended by the veterinarian.
What Is Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Also referred to as canine hypothyroidism, this condition results from the inability of the dog’s thyroid gland to produce enough hormones that are essential for growth, reproduction, metabolism, and the immune system. About 95% of dogs who suffer from hypothyroidism have inflamed or damaged thyroid glands. Only a small percentage can be attributed to tumors, congenital abnormalities, or cancer.
Canine hypothyroidism is more often observed among medium to large-sized dogs, especially certain breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and Boxers. Regardless of the genetic makeup, its onset normally occurs during the middle or late stage of a dog’s life. Moreover, experts have noted that neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs have a higher risk of developing this condition.
Different Types of Hypothyroidism
Studies show that dogs may suffer from the following types of hypothyroidism:
- Primary Hypothyroidism
When the thyroid gland does not receive proper stimulation, its production and release of hormones drop significantly. As a result, your dog would exhibit slower movements and signs of fatigue.
A large portion of hypothyroidism cases among dogs fall under this type because it may be caused by various factors, such as the presence of thyroid tumors, atrophy of the thyroid, and the autoimmune condition called lymphocytic thyroiditis, wherein the thyroid gland is directly attacked by the dog’s immune cells.
- Secondary Hypothyroidism
Your dog will suffer from this type of hypothyroidism if a tumor grows on or near the thyroid gland itself. Some cases, however, are caused by congenital abnormalities in the pituitary gland.
Regardless of the origin, this will cause your dog to experience muscle pain, constipation, inexplicable weight gain, fatigue, depression, and sudden intolerance to cold surroundings.
- Tertiary Hypothyroidism
Studies about this type of hypothyroidism are still lacking due to its rarity. Experts have noted that this condition is linked to the thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) produced in the hypothalamus of a dog. Without this hormone, the pituitary gland is not able to produce the thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) needed for the proper functioning of the endocrine system.
- Peripheral Hypothyroidism
This is another rare type of hypothyroidism among dogs. It usually results from the failure of the dog’s body to successfully convert thyroxine, also known as T4 hormones, into tri-iodothyronine or T3 hormones. Because of this, dogs will not be able to properly control their metabolic rate, as well as the growth rate of their bodily tissues.
Experts, however, encountered cases wherein the dogs suffered from peripheral hypothyroidism due to the resistance of the involved tissues to the presence of either T3 or T4 hormones.
How to Prevent Hypothyroidism in Dogs
Though hypothyroidism does not pose a serious risk to your dog’s life at first, preventive measures must still be a priority to keep your pet happy and healthy. The best way to do so is by ensuring that your dog will get the right amount of iodine and tyrosine every day.
If you prefer giving your dog daily dietary supplements, make sure that you do not exceed 18 milligrams per kilo of your dog’s weight. Puppies, on the other hand, can only safely take up to 775 µg per kilo of their weight. Otherwise, too much iodine or tyrosine can lead to other health complications, including the death of your dog.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Dogs
The main symptom of hypothyroidism among dogs is the lack of energy. If you notice your dog has less interest in physical activities than usual, or naps more frequently, keep an eye out for the other symptoms, which include:
- Weight gain despite no increase in calorie intake
- Thickening, dryness, itchiness, discoloration of the skin
- Slow growth of hair strands that also appear dull, thin, or brittle
- Chronic or recurring infections in the ears or skin
- Cold intolerance
- Slow heart rate
- Mental dullness or other changes in behavioral patterns
The manifestations of these symptoms vary from one dog to another. If your dog exhibits two or more of these symptoms, consider seeking the advice of a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Hypothyroidism in Dogs Survival Rate
Canine hypothyroidism will not put your dog’s life in great danger as long as you treat it immediately. If ignored or overlooked for too long, it may progress to a condition called myxedema, which is characterized by mental dullness and swollen skin. In extreme cases, this advances to coma and eventually death.
Furthermore, the underproduction of thyroid hormones may also cause the deterioration of other organs, which could ultimately lead to the untimely demise of your dog. Though no exact statistical figure is available at the present, the key to a high survival rate is immediate medical attention and regular treatment.
Dogs Hypothyroidism Natural Home Remedies
Nowadays, pet owners have several options other than simply following the prescription for the oral administration of synthetic thyroid replacement hormones. For instance, many consider natural home remedies, such as kelp, stinging nettle, and fenugreek as good alternatives due to their potential and cost-effectiveness.
Hemp also comes with strong recommendations from experts since it can relieve several symptoms of hypothyroidism without making your dog suffer distressful side-effects normally triggered by regular thyroid medications. Though some believe it is toxic to dogs, hemp does not contain chemicals that would cause harm or psychoactive effects on your dog—as long as it is given properly.
How Much Hemp Should I Give My Dogs with Hypothyroidism?
The exact dosage varies, depending on the breed, age, and size of your dog, as well as the severity of the condition. It is best to consult with a veterinarian first to determine the right dosage, especially if your pet is on the younger side of the spectrum, and if you have little to no experience when it comes to the medical uses of hemp.
The dosage also varies based on the form of the hemp when administered to your dog. Many opt for bottled hemp oils with droppers, while others prefer giving their pets hemp treats instead. For more information about the recommended amount of hemp for different kinds of dogs, refer to this dosage chart.