DEAR KELSEY: I was reading on the Internet about dogs being hypothyroid and it sounds just like my dog, Maggie. Can you tell me about the disease and what I should ask my vet? — SHARON FROM MADERA
DEAR SHARON: Hypothyroidism is a very common disease in dogs. It most often occurs in middle-aged dogs that are medium to large breeds, but my mom has seen it in dogs of every size and shape. Purebred dogs most commonly affected include the golden retriever, Doberman pinscher, boxer, Labrador retriever, miniature schnauzer, dachshund, beagle, cocker spaniel, English bulldog, and Great Dane.
More than 95 percent of cases of hypothyroidism are caused by primary destruction of the gland itself, leading to low thyroid hormone levels. Sometimes the immune system develops antibodies that attack the thyroid tissue causing cell damage; other times it is a degenerative process in which fat cells replace the thyroid cells over time.
Less than 5 percent of cases include cancers of the gland, or hormone imbalances due to tumors or dysfunctions of the pituitary gland in the brain...