What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?
Congenitally hypothyroid pups are usually lethargic and overweight with a characteristic "tragic" facial expression due to increased water retention in the facial folds. They may also present with dwarfism of the long bones and spine as well as delayed mental development. Abdominal hair loss, as well as a characteristic goiter, which is actually an enlarged thyroid gland attempting to produce thyroxine (to no avail), are also common.
When do signs and symptoms develop?
Signs first develop in puppyhood and continue throughout their lives if untreated.
How do vets diagnose this condition?
Genetic and laboratory testing along with clinical signs are used to diagnose this disease.
How is this condition treated?
Hypothyroidism is a lifetime condition and can be managed medically with thyroxine supplementation. If untreated, dogs can enter a rare condition known as myxedema coma, where lethargy can progress to a comatose state and have a reduced heart rate, breathing rate, and low body temperature. This is an emergency situation that requires intensive care.
What actions should I take if my dog is affected?
Early diagnosis, consistent treatment, and regular blood work are key to managing this condition well.