German Shepherd in a deep sleep

Hypothyroidism in German Shepherds: FAQs

How is hypothyroidism in German Shepherds diagnosed?

Hypothyroidism is easily diagnosed with blood tests. Additional tests are also recommended if there are abnormalities seen in the initial tests or if your pet has epilepsy or heart problems. An X-ray is sometimes taken if the veterinarian suspects the presence of a tumor in the thyroid gland.  

What are different types of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds? 

Primary Hypothyroidism

This form of hypothyroidism seen in about 95% of all cases occurs due to the destruction of the pituitary gland. Conditions called lymphocytic thyroiditis and idiopathic atrophy are common causes of such type of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds.  

Secondary Hypothyroidism

Secondary hypothyroidism is rare. This form of hypothyroidism in German Shepherds happens when a tumor grows in the thyroid gland damaging the thyroid tissue. Malignant thyroid tumor can reduce the thyroid’s hormone production. However, thyroid cancer is very rare in dogs. 

Other Forms of Hypothyroidism

The disorder is also caused by the destruction of the thyroid tissue and abnormal growth within the thyroid gland. Congenital hypothyroidism is rare in dogs.

 

How to treat hypothyroidism in German Shepherds?

Primary hypothyroidism is treatable using medications, such as levothyroxine or L-thyroxine. This drug helps maintain regular hormone levels that normalize your German Shepherd’s metabolism. Diet changes also work. You may provide iodine-rich diet, which prevents further injury to the thyroid gland of your dog. Daily exercise too assists in the metabolism process that suffers due to underactive thyroid.