Hypothyroidism in dogs, at-risk breeds, and symptoms

Hypothyroidism is a hormonal imbalance that is particularly common in certain dog breeds; it is brought on by inflammation of the thyroid gland, and its signs and symptoms are well-known.

Hypothyroidism in dogs, at-risk breeds, and symptoms
Identify the causes, symptoms, and dog breeds predisposed to hypothyroidism. Photo by Vanessa Serpas / Unsplash

A new study by the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom revealed which dog breeds are most prone to hypothyroidism, a lifelong hormonal disorder caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland. This condition can reduce the quality of life of dogs, especially if they are spayed or neutered and those that present symptoms such as hair loss.

The dog breeds most at risk for hypothyroidism

The results of the study by researchers at the Royal Veterinary College revealed the dog breeds most prone to hypothyroidism are based on 2,105 cases diagnosed in a population of 905,553 dogs in the United Kingdom.

Doberman pinscher
Tibetan terrier
Alaskan Malamute

What is hypothyroidism in dogs?

Hypothyroidism is a common hormonal imbalance in dogs and is usually caused by inflammation or shrinkage of the thyroid gland. This progressive destruction of the thyroid gland leads to decreased thyroid function and insufficient levels of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is typically seen in middle-aged to older dogs and occurs most commonly in medium-to-large breeds.

How do I know if my dog has hypothyroidism?

As a hormonal imbalance, hypothyroidism affects almost every cell in a dog's body, according to the Royal Veterinary College. As a result, dogs often show the following symptoms:

Weight gain
Loss or scarcity of a coat
Numbness and inactivity
Intolerance of cold

Similarly, previous Royal Veterinary College studies have revealed several potential risk factors for this disease in dogs, such as neutering and aging, with ages 11 to 13 years being more prone to suffering from it.

Learn which dog breeds are at lower risk

There is still no cure for hypothyroidism; dogs must be treated for life with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. However, research by the Royal Veterinary College unveiled the breeds least likely to suffer from it:

French Bulldog
Yorkshire Terrier
Jack Russell Terrier

The Cavachon and Cavapoo breeds did not record any cases of hypothyroidism in the Royal Veterinary College investigation.

Canine hypothyroidism: what is it, which breeds are at risk, and how to spot it.