This article is from the Canine Medical Information FAQ, by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
Common symptoms are:
* seeking warm places to curl up
* lessened activity
* slow coat growth, brittle fur
* ring around the neck where fur won't grow, or loss of hair in
* loss of appetite/excessive appetite
* dry, thickened skin
* prone to skin infections
Dogs are often middle-aged or older, although this also occurs in
younger dogs. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, hypothyroidism
is common in all breeds and all sexes, although the incidence is
highest in spayed females. Treatment involves daily thyroid pills, a
In the March '92 issue of Dog World is an excellent article,
"Autoimmune thyroid disease" by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM (a nationally
recognized expert on the subject) explains a lot about thyroid
conditions in dogs. She also goes to great effort to explain that dogs
can be hypothyroid _without_ showing the "classic" signs. She also
explains typical course of treatment and followups. There's also a
long list of breeds that are "predisposed" to problems.
[As a counterweight, note that many vets do not take Dr. Dodds
seriously because she does not publish in respected journals such as
JAVMA but rather in "popular" magazines. So always discuss fully and
candidly with your vet and bear in mind that many otherwise
"asymptomatic" dogs are diagnosed with low or abnormal thyroid levels.
This article is not attempting to argue one way or another over Dr.
Dodds' credentials, it's merely trying to be as informative as
More subtle signs:
* overweight despite controlled diets
* thin coats (not hair loss)
* smelling bad
* chronic ear infections
* sudden changes in temperament
The article by Dr. Dodds points out that the "subtle" signs are just
now being recognized by the veterinary community.
There is another article about thyroid problems in the Sept or Oct
('91) _Dog World_, and again, pointing out more unusual signs in the
Sept. '92 issue of _Dog World_.
Padgett, George DVM "Caniine Genetic Disease" Dog World, December
1996, January 1997, and March 1997 (in three parts).
Bodner, E. "Hypothyroidism: a New Direction", AKC Gazette Feb 1997 ,
Inceasing attention is being paid to this problem. OFA now has a
registry for thyroid function, details may be found at