Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Canine Hypothyroidism And Seizures in Dogs

hypothyrodism and seizures in dogs

Did You Know? Seizures in dogs are often associated with low or borderline low thyroid function which is known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by insufficient production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating metabolism and various bodily functions.  Thyroid values can vary considerably and vets interpret results differently.  Just as in people, symptoms of hypothyroidism should weigh in heavily in the overall assessment of the pet. 

In dogs, hypothyroidism can lead to a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, lethargy, skin problems, dull coat, symmetrical hair loss or thinning hair (especially on the tail) and neurological abnormalities. Seizures are one of the potential neurological issues that can manifestation when a dog has hypothyroidism.

The exact mechanism by which hypothyroidism can lead to seizures is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the disruption of normal neurological function which is caused by an imbalance of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones have important roles in maintaining the health and function of the nervous system and when there is a disruption seizures can occur.  This can happen sometimes when an older pet suddenly starts having seizures.

If your dog is having seizures ask your veterinarian about a thorough evaluation, including blood tests  that can assess thyroid function and help diagnose hypothyroidism. Confirming your dog's values are mid-range not at the low end of "normal" can help you determine the appropriate treatment which can aid in managing both the underlying thyroid disorder and the seizures.

What Else Can Cause Seizures In Dogs?

Seizures in dogs can be traumatic for the pet owner and the dog but there is hope.  Maintaining proper digestive health and controlling food allergies can also help control seizures.  Seizures can be triggered by allergies, stress and gastrointestinal issues which is why it is so important to keep dogs with hypothyroidism on a regular schedule, feeding them 3 daily meals with plenty of exercise.  To learn more about how to help your dog with seizures, please read our comprehensive article about holistic care for dogs with seizures.