Aggression in a dog is often thought to be a sign of behavioral problems. However, there could be an underlying medical condition that is causing the dog to have negative interactions with others. In some instances, the dog could be experiencing hypothyroidism. If you suspect your dog has a thyroid problem, here is what you need to know.
What Are the Signs of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when your dog's thyroid gland does not properly function. The dysfunction can cause a reduction in the amount of thyroid hormones that are produced. When this happens, your dog might exhibit aggressive behavior toward others.
The behavior does not appear suddenly. It is often a gradual shift that leads to the dog responding negatively to others in unprovoked situations. In some instances, the behavior is dismissed by owners as signs that a dog is getting older or unruly, but it is important to not ignore the behavior.
There are other symptoms that could point toward a thyroid problem, including hair loss or dramatic changes in the dog's weight. Your dog might also have some hyperpigmentation of its skin, show signs of cold intolerance, and even become lethargic.
Other symptoms are undetectable without medical tests. They can include high blood cholesterol, anemia, and a slower heart rate.
If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, he or she needs to be seen by a veterinarian at a place like the Berlin Township Animal Hospital.
What Is the Treatment?
The veterinarian will likely use x-rays or conduct a biopsy to determine if your dog has a thyroid problem. He or she can also analyze your dog's blood and urine to make a diagnosis. Once he or she diagnoses the condition, a treatment plan will be developed.
The treatment for hypothyroidism is to bring up the current levels. The easiest way to do this is to give your dog a supplement that provides the hormones that are missing. If your dog has trouble with the tablet, talk to your vet about using the liquid form of the supplement.
The supplement will likely need to be administered for the rest of your dog's life. The vet will monitor your dog to determine if an adjustment is needed in the prescribed dosage. Factors, such as aging and activity level, can have an impact on how much your dog needs to take.
It is important that you continue to monitor your dog for any other changes to his or her behavior and overall condition. Consult with your vet if your dog's condition does not improve or you notice any changes.