Thyroid disease in dogs is becoming a rising concern. The disease can have a variety of symptoms, some of which often mimic other diseases. This can make it difficult to determine a true diagnosis for the disease. Some of the common symptoms include:
Weight gain Hair loss Dry skin and flakey skin Increased appetite Gastric problems Lameness Mental dullness Irregular heat cycles in females or infertility Dog seeks warmth or heat Mental Dullness Exercise intolerance or dog becomes less active A 'tragic' expression where the dog appears sad or sorrowful Other symptoms, which have been more recently stated by Dr. Jean Dodds, are behavioral changes that include shyness, aggression or phobias. And while traditional information states thyroid issues affect dogs ages 4 and older, Dr. Dodds also reports she has seen more hypothyroidism in dogs as young as 18 months of age and she believes hypothyroidism may becoming an epidemic problem in dogs.
While a dog may have only a few of the above symptoms, they can often be misdiagnosed as having allergies, IBD, arthritis and/or obesity. Oftentimes, owners can become frustrated when the symptoms persist and their dog's condition worsens.
Thyroid issues are often autoimmune in nature. Thyroid issues can happen slowly and many times the symptoms do not begin until most of the thyroid function is gone. Once the thyroid function starts deteriorating, the dog typically needs medication for life.
The thyroid is a gland that regulates hormones. Hypothyroidism causes a reduction of the thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism releases too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is very rare in dogs. Most veterinarians can test for thyroid levels. The common test is a simple indication of the T4 levels. Newer tests also test for TSH and TSH stimulation testing. This gives a broader and more accurate testing. Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet gives a wider testing and even compares by breed norms. You can find out more about Dr. Jean Dodds, Hemopet and their thyroid testing at this website:
Blood work symptoms of hypothyroidism include increased cholesterol levels along with increased triglycerides, or elevated ALT. Should your dog's symptoms show an increase in any of these, or all of them, it is wise to do a complete thyroid blood work-up on your dog. In fact, if your dog shows stubborn skin and coat problems, unexplained lameness, lethargy, digestion problems, unexplained weight gain or hair loss, testing for thyroid levels should be done. The test may show that it is not hypothyroidism, but hypothyroidism could then be ruled out.
Why are we seeing a sudden surge of thyroid problems in dogs? I have read numerous theories that include such things as pollution, vaccinations and poor breeding. However, I do not think any of these are a main cause of hypothyroidism. I believe the primary contributor is diet, with the ultimate culprit of poor thyroid function and hormone balance coming from diets that contain carbohydrates.
Commercial dog foods (kibble) are high in starches, grains and fillers. When you load a dog with sugar, which are what carbohydrates consist of (grains, vegetables and fruit); it directly affects the hormone balance in the body. Putting a carnivore on a diet that uses large amounts of carbohydrates affects several important functions of the body in an adverse way. Some of the problems include gum disease and tooth decay, deficiency of amino acids needed to keep the kidneys, liver and heart healthy and obesity which results from the high calories found in grains and starches and by causing the dog to use too much energy trying to digest that much fiber on the dog's short and simple digestive tract. Dogs more easily digest animal proteins and fats. They provide the nutrients they need and require far less energy to digest and assimilate.
Feeding a diet that is raw or home cooked (at least 75% animal-based proteins and fats), provides the amino acids needed, most importantly the needed taurine and l-carnitine. Dogs also need iron and other minerals that are found in animal-based foods. Meat is also rich in trace minerals, including iodine, which is necessary for good thyroid health.
Other supplements that are helpful in enhancing thyroid health include:
EPA Fish Oil Capsules: EPA Fish Oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which help support the immune system. Combined with Vitamin E, both these nutrients help regulate hormones.
Berte's Green Blend: This sea vegetation blend contains kelp, spirulina, dulce and Irish moss, all of which provide the needed iodine and trace minerals needed to support canine health.
Berte's Immune Blend: This vitamin blend includes vitamin E, C, D, A and B vitamins and includes probiotics, all of which help support the immune system.
If your dog shows any of the symptoms listed for hypothyroidism, I recommend you get their thyroid levels tested at your veterinarian's office. If your dog's system is low in the thyroid hormone, it can cause so many different health problems, which only get worse if not treated. Feeding your dog a fresh raw or home cooked diet does so much to help keep their hormones regulated and helps maintain a healthy immune system. It also promotes a happier and healthier dog!
I LOVE raffles and Contests!!!!!! It does not hurt that I am pretty lucky too!!! From a very young age I found raffles and contests a thrill.
I also LOVE playing the creating game. My friends Diana and Char know this game all too well 🙂 We decide what we want and we set our vibration to that. Thoughts are real. We call forth what we most think about.
I remember I was in 3rd grade and the entire school participated in some saftey contest where each student drew/colored a poster about safety.
I remember standing outside with all the other kids and there was a table with several colorful trophies on it. I remember looking at the green trophey and thinking how beautiful it was. I guess I really fixated on it because I ended up winning 3rd place which was the green trophey!!! I learned a big lesson that day!!! Know what each prize is for before you "pick" one 🙂
I have won so many cool prizes in contests and raffles such as 5,000.00 , a mountain bike, carpet for my house, a garage door and tons of other cool things.
I learned about a photo contest via Instagram and thought what the heck… sounds like fun. I have never been on insta gram so I just dove right in. It has turned out to be such a treat because I am having fun taking and posting photos using the different filters. I admit 99% of my photos are of my dogs :) They make my soul smile so it's all good-
Now back to the contest and creating. There are 4 different themes. The first was "My Comute" I had been thinking of some cool shots I could take and the weeks got away from me so I missed that one. The next theme was " jump start" So I posted alot of jumping dog photos and then starting really thinking about the words jump start and all that kept coming to mind was jump starting a car. Well I must have been thinking REALLY hard about that because the next day the car I chose to drive had a dead battery!!! I had to drag the jumper cables out and well there was my chance!! I took the shot and it did put a smile on my face.
The next theme was " My Dog Just Woke Up" WELL WELL WELL !!!! THAT is right up my alley!!!! Needless to say I have entered 56,0000 photos in this one!!! jk but close 🙂
Here comes the real point of this whole blog post – I am already thinking about the next theme "Pigeons in my city" It just so happens that we have a large family of pigeons living on our house!! I wake up every morning and run outside to get that perfect shot with the light just so and my beautiful pigeons in flight. It is not working out so well. I stand there with my phone frozen just waiting for the burst of flight….5 minutes….10 minutes…. my arms are cramping …. I hear them tap tap tapping around and cooing but nothing else. I look away from the screen and this is what I see…. They are staring at me!!!!!
I WILL get this shot!!!! I WILL get this shot!!!!
So last night Daneen and I are sitting in the office and all the Papillons are in their spots eating dinner and WHHHOOOOOSSSSHHHH!!!!!! We turn just in time to see a pigeon fly across the living room and head towards the back of the house!!! I smile, grab my camera and say " now how is that for creating?"
We finally got the pigeon outside unharmed and that was no easy task because there were several little Papillons that wanted to play with the bird.
I will just post a couple of the crappy shots so you can get the idea as I am saving the better shots for the contest 🙂
I am so exhausted right now – mentally and physically. It still amazes me that something can be a part of your life for such a short time and yet the love is immeasurable.
Breeding is not for the weak.
As hurt as my heart is right now I know that the joy and pleasure far outweighs the pain and sorrow. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I will do it again because it fills my soul.
I also know that every soul has its own path and while I do everything in my power to try to keep them safe and help them in every way I know – They still have a choice to make – and I respect that. I am ever grateful for them choosing me to share their love and life with for how ever long they are on this earth. I truly count them and the time as blessings. I am also open to whatever lessons or new things I might learn during our journey together.
One of the things I love about Facebook is the immediateness of connecting with others. Sharing the joy and the sorrows. In essence letting each other know that we are not alone but the thing that a blog does better is offer the ability to share the entire story in one post and not in snippets. So here is the story of Kix.I have added Links to the things I have found useful and I hope you find it helpful if you are ever in this type of puppy situation.
There is nothing in the world like having a dog that would walk through fire for you. That there is this incredible connection between the both of you – this mutual adoration. It is just heaven on earth. It really has nothing to do with any sport or even if the dog is really good at anything more than just loving you madly and being able to look into each others eyes and see each others souls. It is amazing and I try to convey this feeling to puppy people and anyone looking for a dog. Don't settle – the "right" dog is looking for you as you are looking for them. You will feel it.
I am so very blessed to have several of these heart dogs and in 3 different breeds. In Papillons one of these special connections is Aiden. I did not raise Aiden and he is not the bravest boy on the planet but he has the most heart. I see him push past his comfort zones all the time to try to please me and he trys so very hard inspite of his limitations. He means the world to me. He could do nothing more than sit on my lap and just be Aiden and that would be fine with me. I dabble with him in agility and with as little as I actually train he just amazes me. I can only imagine if I had raised him from a puppy with the socialization and confidance building we do with our pups and actually trained him with any regularity. He is a great dog!!
The joke around here has always been that " Masher, Masher, Masher" (said in the Jan voice from the Brady Bunch) always gets the girlfriends and poor Aiden will never get a girlfriend. So a couple of years ago I bought a huge stuffed raccoon and called it Aiden's girlfriend. He loved it!! When you tell Aiden to go get your girlfriend he runs around the house frantic until he finds her then he drags her on the sofa and chews on her. It's very cute.
Aiden with his first girlfriend 🙂
Well Aiden has a lot to offer. He is dead sound and is very well put together. He is a little bigger than the standard calls for but
that is ok. He has a wonderful pedigree and a huge heart. I decided that he would compliment Shimmer who is beyond cute and smaller and typey with a killer pedigree.
So I bred them. I never got a tie so I thought maybe we missed it. To my delight Shimmer was pregnant and the X-ray showed 3 pups.I was so very excited about this litter because they were Doody babies!!! Doody is Aiden nickname that came down from ADD Doody.
I remember looking at this x-ray and thinking those heads look like football helmets!!! Little did I know how TINY these pups were.
I moved Shimmer and her whelping box to another bedroom so I could sleep next to her pen and keep an eye on her and the pups and as she is a first time mother she would not have to have the extra stress and worry of other dogs near her pups.
The pups were born on June 24th with no complications and Shimmer did great.The pups were born smaller than any other pup I have ever whelped. 1 girl and 2 boys and the boys came in just over 2 oz. Daneen handles anything to do with numbers so she started the weight chart on the pups. She recorded everything in ounces as soon as it was apparent that I was going to have to do the rest of the weighing of the pups and the fact that I am afflicted with the dreadful Julie math disease – I switched the scale to grams – much easier for me to figure out if the weights are up or down at 3:00 in the morning 🙂
Sugar Pop, Kix and Cap'N Crunch- The size difference is huge
On the 25th of June the girl, Sugar Pop, was 146 grams- The darker boy, Cap'N Crunch was 88 grams and the other boy, Kix, was 74 grams.
I gave all the pups some liver juice drops, Fading Puppy Formula and some sugar water throughout the day. I made some milk replacer and put it in the fridge just in case I needed it. I had seen this method of feeding a puppy with a cosmetic sponge and it looked really neat and it all made sense…. it certainly looked "better" than the old tube feeding method so I tried it. It didn't work so well for me. Maybe I need more practice at it or maybe the pups need to be a little older. Not really sure.
Puppy Milk Replacement Recipe
10 oz Evaporated Milk
3 oz Sterile Water
1 cup Mayonaise
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Karo Syrup
Blend but don't whip so that you get lots of bubble. Refridgerate unused portion and it will keep for a week.
I moved Shimmers whelping box from her pen next to my bed to actually on my bed next to my pillow.
All the pups were nursing well and every 4 hours I was taking the two boys and watching them nurse without the girl pushing them off. Kix was still not gaining as well as his litter mates and not holding what he was gaining very well. I started to supplement with a milk replacer every 6 hours as he was still nursing well.
He soon started to not have any interest in nursing off his mother. I then changed to hand rearing him which meant feeding him every 4 hours. Still doing the liver juice and the Puppy Fading Formula from Nature's Farmacy.
Kix spent his last day here where he was most comfortable.
By July 1st p.m. Sugar Pop = 250 grams, Cap'N Crunch = 132 and Kix = 98
I am sad to report that Kix crossed the bridge on July 2nd as I am guessing he has other important adventures.
I lay on the bed crying with Shimmer and her 2 remaining pups in the whelping box next to my pillow. I am sad beyond words and Shimmer looks at me and comes out and lays on my chest and stares into my eyes then gently licks the tears from my face. So very sweet. Sorry momma. We tried.
Godspeed my handsome and sweet boy – Until we meet again
They say if you have been breeding long enough you are bound to see almost everything. I am blessed that I have not had too much trouble in the first 8 weeks when pups are still in the whelping box. In all the litters I have had I have lost Zero Dalmatian pups, 6 Collie pups and 1 Papillion pup. (The 6 collies were from 3 different litters- 1-mother squished, 1- birth defect, 1 born stillborn, 3 lost due to mothers milk bad before I realized) It is still horrible and you can't stop the tears when it does happen. I do take comfort in the wonderful dogs I do have and hug and kiss them everyday. I feel very badly for the people that lose a dog and it is their only dog. I can not even imagine the awful feeling of an empty house.
So much has to go right that I can not help but think every one of them is a miracle ~ Cap'N Crunch and Sugar Pop
Now to go and tend to Cap'N Crunch and Sugar Pop and the rest of the pups and count my blessings.
So I have a goal that I am working on and it involves Ella and Rally. Of course in my typical style I decide the goal and with only 3 weeks of training I enter Ella in Rally Novice!!!
She is truly a great dog!!!
She had so much fun working and it just makes me smile when I watch her videos because her tail never stops!!!!
4 shows 4 Q’s with a first and 2 third places!!!!
I have not done Rally in over 4 years and that was just a quick wham bam thank you mam to get a title on Sydney ( Ella’s mother) so that I could breed her to Slade.
I was pleasantly surprised at the whole Rally experience this time around. While I was still crazy nervous it was not as bad as the last time around. Everyone involved in Rally that I saw, from the judge and stewards to the exhibitors were so friendly and helpful that it made the entire adventure fun and leaving me wanting to do more of it.