Hypothyroidism is the natural deficiency of thyroid hormone which regulates metabolism. This deficiency is produced by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland in most cases. Since virtually every cell in the body can be affected by reduced levels of thyroid hormone, it is not surprising that reduced levels of thyroid hormone lead to symptoms in many body systems. The most common manifestations are weight gain, decreased activity, hair loss, and poor hair coat. It addition it can contribute to skin and ear infections.
A synthetic thyroid hormone called Thyroxine/Soloxine (T4) is used for treating this disease and is given twice daily. TREATMENT IS GIVEN FOR THE REST OF YOUR PETS LIFE as they are unable to produce their own thyroid hormone. Thyroxine is a safe medication, but if it’s not given at the appropriate dose your pet will not be adequately treated. If the dose is too high and given for too long a time, excessive water consumption, weight loss, diarrhea, and restlessness can result. If the dose is too low then the clinical signs of hypothyroidism will persist.
MONITORING T4 levels in the blood is the most important part of the treatment for this disease.
After we start your pet on the Thyroxine we will need to re-check thyroid levels after 45 days to make sure they are receiving an adequate amount of supplementation. Each time we adjust the medication dose we will need to recheck the T4 values in 6-8 weeks to make sure it is within the normal therapeutic range. Once your pet is on the appropriate dose we recommend testing every 6 months to monitor for changes.
We recommend testing your pet’s T4 4-6 hours after receiving their medication. This represents the highest level of supplementation for the day. It is important to evaluate the T4 after a constant time frame each time it is measured to make sure our results are consistent and your pet is receiving the best possible care.
Please give the T4 medication as recommended and don’t discontinue without consulting a veterinarian first.
Hypothyroidism is a treatable disease and your pet should live a normal happy life with appropriate treatment.