Hypothyroidism|Thyroid Issues in Senior German Shepherds

Updated: Apr 10

If your senior German Shepherd has been feeling a little off lately, it's possible that he or she may be suffering from hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to underproduce thyroid hormone, which then causes the metabolism to slow. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can result in weight gain, lethargy, and a host of other health problems.

In this #LifeWithOldDogs® blog post and podcast, we'll discuss what hypothyroidism is, how to spot the signs, and the treatment options available. We hope you find this information useful!

What Causes Canine Hypothyroidism?

The cause of hypothyroidism in senior German Shepherds is due to a hormone imbalance that can result from inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located near the trachea, or windpipe, and has two lobes, one on each side of the trachea. Thyroid hormone levels are affected once the thyroid gland is damaged to a certain extent.

What Are The Signs Of Canine Hypothyroidism?

  • Weight gain

  • Change in appetite

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Lethargy

  • Mental dullness

  • Thinning coat

  • Bald patches

  • Darkened or Blackened skin

  • Flakey skin

  • Thickened skin

  • Cold intolerance

  • Reproductive issues

  • Lack of coordination

  • High cholesterol levels

  • Slower heart rate

  • Infection (skin, toenails & ears)

  • Seizures

  • Heart problems

How Is Canine Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

Your vet will perform a physical examination which includes feeling the thyroid for a mass. Additionally, a blood test is needed to check for hypothyroidism. The test will screen for Free T4, total T4, or Thyroxine, and T3 testing, or Triiodothyronine levels. Additional testing may be required to determine the extent of the disease.

Treatment for Canine Hypothyroidism:

The treatment for hypothyroidism is relatively inexpensive and straightforward. Treatment involves a prescription pill for the synthetic thyroid hormone such as Levothyroxine or L-thyroxine, which is typically administered twice a day.

Regular check-ups and blood work will be needed for the remainder of your senior German Shepherd's life to monitor his thyroid levels.

Prognosis For Senior German Shepherds With Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disease in senior German Shepherds, but with early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for your fur friend is generally reasonable. Many enjoy long survival times with an active quality of life. The key is to GET treatment because if left untreated, hypothyroidism can have serious consequences.

To listen to the coinciding #LifeWithOldDogs® podcast, click on the link below:



To listen to this week's #LifeWithOldDogs® podcast episode that coincides with this blog post, click here: https://pdcn.co/e/www.buzzsprout.com/1771634/10357751-perianal-fistula-in-senior-german-shepherds.mp3?download=true

In season three of our #LifeWithOldDogs® podcast and blog, we cover the top 20 health issues found in senior German Shepherds, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get all this free and valuable information delivered right to your inbox.

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Our fur friends don't live forever.....none of us do.... but as your German Shepherd ages, it's important to know the typical aliments your fur friend can suffer from and how to navigate the waters if something does come up instead of being blindsided and feeling helpless. We want to help you with that. At the end of season three of the #LifeWithOldDogs® podcast and blog posts, we will send you the entire season's worth of all the information we cover in a FREE ebook, so be sure to subscribe; to be "in the Know."

***** Disclaimer: Throughout the "20 Most Common Health Issues in Senior German Shepherds" series, each blog post is expressed explicitly from our point of view and is not to be substituted for the professional medical expertise of your trusted veterinarian.