By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Hypothyroidism or under active thyroid, is a disease of thyroid deficiency. Like people, dogs with this illness have rates of metabolism that fall below normal.
The thyroid is a small gland on the throat below the larynx. One of the main functions of the thyroid gland is to regulate metabolism by producing thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is the condition that occurs when not enough thyroid hormones are produced.
Hypothyroidism seems to be more common in dogs and is rarely seen in cats or even very small dogs. It usually occurs in medium to larger sized dogs, but fortunately, it seems that many mixed breeds seem to be at a reduced risk.
Symptoms may include lethargic behavior, obesity, hair loss, slow heart rate, excessive shedding, poor hair growth, dry coat, intolerance to cold, constipation, anemia and slow heart rate, among others. Ulcers and even deafness may also occur.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with a blood test and can be easily treated and managed with medication.