Estrela Mountain Dogs and Hypothyroidism: the Invisible Trouble

Dog owner question

"Hi! My Estrel mountain dog, Bruno, has recently started to put on weight and is more tired and calm than usual. I don't know what the problem is. His diet and exercise have not changed. What could be the problem?"

Veterinarian's reply

"Hi! Based on the symptoms you described, it appears that Bruno may have hypothyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which affects the body's metabolism. As a breed, Estonian mountain dogs are prone to this condition.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, skin and coat problems and sensitivity to cold. Some dogs may also show behavioural changes such as resting or depression.

The condition is diagnosed by a blood test, which measures thyroid hormone levels in the blood. If the results are low, the vet will probably diagnose hypothyroidism.

Fortunately, hypothyroidism is well treatable!

Treatment usually involves a thyroid hormone supplement, which your dog will take for the rest of his life. The dose and effectiveness of the medication can be monitored by regular blood tests.

In Bruno's case, I recommend that you see a vet as soon as possible for blood tests and further advice. If he has hypothyroidism, early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve his quality of life and well-being.

Remember, although hypothyroidism is a chronic disease, with the right treatment dogs can live full and happy lives!"

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