Change in dog’s behavior: Thyroid dysfunction?

Until recently, she was friendly, outgoing and trustworthy. But now it’s like a shadow comes over her, and she gets spooky and snappy. She pants a lot, gets sweaty and seems possessed. She also scratches more than she used to.

I thought of obedience school after the vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her. He suggested trying Prozac if she does not improve.

M.W., Houston


DF: Ruling out some backyard trauma while she was out and you were not present or a change in the home social environment, I would ask your veterinarian to run a full thyroid profile.

Thyroid dysfunction causing aberrant behavior and seizures is reaching near epidemic proportions in dogs, according to my friend W. Jean Dodds. The disease afflicts young dogs such as yours that show behavioral changes, including seemingly schizophrenic behavior.

Some breeds are especially prone, notably the German shepherd, Doberman pinscher, English springer spaniel, Akita, golden retriever, Rottweiler and Shetland sheepdog. Hereditary autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland accounts for 90 percent of cases of hypothyroidism in purebred and hybrid dog breeds, Dodds says.

After blood tests to confirm the diagnosis, Dodds recommends treatment twice daily with thyroxine at a dose level according to your dog’s weight. Relief should be evident in a few days.

There are many chemical contaminants in our environment, food and water that are identified as endocrine disrupters, which I believe could play a significant role in this near epidemic.

The Washington Post

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