Canine Hypothyroidism: How to Spot and Treat This Subtle Disease

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a group of blood tests that help determine levels of thyroid hormones. The most common test is a T4 test, which is a measurement of blood levels of total thyroxine, the main hormone that is secreted from the thyroid glands. Other tests that are often run concurrently include TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and free T4. These two tests provide supportive information because T4 levels can vary and may be low due to illness unrelated to thyroid problems.

Treatment is lifelong supplementation with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine; blood tests are used to determine any necessary dosage adjustments. Improvement in attitude and activity level can usually be seen within a week or two.

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