Updated: Apr 16, 2019
This information is not intended to replace advice or guidance from veterinarians or other pet care professionals. It is being shared as an aid to assist you with your own research on this very serious problem.
In my personal experience, and I'M NOT A VET, I am encountering WAY TOO MANY PROVEN CASES of many people who have been advised to give excessively high amounts of thyroid dosage to their dogs which is causing very serious ill effects!
Please read this information, do your due diligence, print it out and take it with you when you speak to your vet about your concerns! PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AND REVIEW YOUR DOG MEDS!
I'm frustrated in writing this post. Many people are aware of our Gunner's problems when it came to hypothyroidism but for those that don't I'll give a VERY brief time line.
In 2007, I got Gunner as a puppy and I do believe he showed symptoms of hypothyroidism immediately.
Gunner was diagnosed at around 3 years old and put on .8mg of Thyrotab, 2 times/day with or without food.
Gunner showed great improvement almost immediately but then seemed to "go down the toilet" at about the 3 month mark.
Gunner was retested and his meds were changed to 1.0mg, 2 times/day as the thought was he wasn't "getting enough".
Within a week of the med change, he became highly aggressive and agitated.
I was informed that he was being significantly overdosed.
He was immediately dropped to .8mg, 2 times per day for the rest of his life. His symptoms were significantly improved but he did tend to have "dicey days" for the rest of his life.
Yearly, vets (various) recommended that a T4 test ONLY be done to insure that Gunner was "on the right dosage".
At 7 years old, Gunner literally dropped dead playing with us in the yard due to DCM (heart issue).
October 2018, I wrote and self published "Heart Dog - Gunner's Story" to share our experiences.
January 2019, I joined a Canine Hypothyroid group on Facebook.
January 2019 - April 2019 - I have read, researched and sadly learned (most in part from that group) that Gunner at 87lbs was always given an excessive amount on his hypothyroid medication and its highly likely that this is what attributed to his death from DCM!
Please read the following information very carefully AND fully, review the meds your dog is on and discuss with your vet immediately if your dog seems to be on a high dose!
We currently reside in Canada and the thyroid medication predominantly given to canines is Thyro-Tab. I found the makers of Thyro-Tab and include the full information sheet at the bottom of this blog post. I welcome you to go to their website to confirm this as the exact and un-altered info sheet.
THYRO-TAB - http://www.lloydinc.com
Please note : This does give the option of dosing your dog only once a day but this has been proven to NOT be desirable! But let's do the math here :
80lb dog x .1mg = .8mg of dosage PER DAY.
If that dose is given twice per day as recommended - that means it should be .4, 2 times per day as a starting point to be reviewed in 4 to 8 weeks.
Please refer to Gunner's story - he was given .8, 2 times a day! DOUBLE THE AMOUNT.
"The Canine Thyroid Epidemic" co-authored by Dr. Dodds and Diana Laverdure. MUST READ!!!
What you will notice here is that a multiple of values are given for dosage and the reason behind this is that they believe larger dogs have different requirements then smaller dogs. they also believe senior dogs require less than middle age dogs. And further, some breeds have different requirements than others!
When testing for hypothyroidism is done at Hemopet, they give you results based on YOUR dog, by breed, age and symptoms. The results will NOT be generic but case specific to your dog.
Please do note, that when using the reference, the values for dosage on a medium sized dog (Gunner / Doberman) would have been VERY close to the insert. Either way, I've continued to look for some documentation somewhere that justifies the dosage that Gunner lived on and sadly, all I've found is that I failed him again. I became complacent and didn't continue my learning.
What else have I learned? As studies continue some very important things have come up with dosing canines with thyroid medication and I'll list them here briefly :
HOW TO ADMINISTER DOSE CORRECTLY:
WARNING : IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY GIVING THYROID MEDS AND YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWING THE BELOW RECOMMENDED PROTOCOL, PLEASE DISCUSS WITH YOUR VET FIRST. Simply put, if you've been giving the meds unlike listed below, it's likely that the absorption has not been good and very inconsistent. In the case where a dog is currently being dosed to much, to change to the below protocol could harm the dog! Having said that, the directions below insure the most exact way of insuring full absorption of the thyroid meds which is recommended.
We want our dogs on the lowest amount possible of thyroid meds and to receive the fullest absorption possible consistently.
Meds should be given on an empty stomach as any food affects the absorption rate!
Dose should be given 1 hour BEFORE food or 3 hours AFTER food.
Dosing should be 12 hours apart to avoid excessive "peaks and valleys" with the dogs heartrate and at consistent times. For example : 6:00am and 6:00pm everyday of the week.
Calcium (cheese/yogurt) and iron block absorption of thyroxine, as does soy so insure that these are not consumed around the dosage times for absorption. CHECK YOUR CURRENT DOG FOOD INGREDIENTS LIST.
"Pill Pockets" may contain calcium/soy - recommendation is to give pills with blueberries, banana, peanut butter (very small amount) or even "mini marshmallows" as they dissolve quickly.
Many dogs will acclimate (get used) to the initial dose within a few days/weeks as their body learns how to utilize the T4 and T3 lacking for so long, symptoms may reappear. Further testing will help determine the amount of increase.
When first on meds, a dog may have an increased sense of smell and may also sleep because the thyroxine is saturation the cells previously "starving" for the T4/T3.
When doing the calculation to determine the starting dosage, insure the weight you use is what your dog's IDEAL weight is. For example : If your dog is 80lbs but overweight by 10lbs - then calculate by using 70lbs.
Conduct YEARLY FULL PANEL thyroid tests to properly evaluate your dog! A full thyroid panel includes tests that help evaluate Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free and total triiodothyronine (total or free T3), free and total thyroxine (free and total T4), and thyroid antibody test. These antibodies will either stimulate or harm the thyroid gland and its function.
As you may know, we currently have two dobermans, both of which have been on thyroid pills for years. After I started learning even more, I realized that they too were on an excessive amount. In consultation with our vet, I reduced Liar from .8 to .6, 2 times a day and Blaze from .6 to .5, 2 times a day. I am amazed at the differences, and saddened at the same time as again I question how much damage has been done. I find myself yet again humiliated but hoping that I've caught it in time and by sharing - many of you can avoid this.
At the end of the day, we want our beloved pets with us for as long as possible and as healthy as possible! I am not asking you to believe everything I say, I want you to investigate as your dogs health depends on it!
NOTES: I want to thank Meridel Young who has suffered with her boy Elwood as we have with Gunner. Where she too is not a vet, she has spent countless hours learning, researching and compiling information! She dedicates herself (as do I now) to helping others avoid this situation.
Recommended sites :
For support on hypothyroidism please find on Facebook : HYPOTHYROIDISM IN DOGS
Thyro-Tab - Lloyd Inc. : http://www.lloydinc.com
Please read "The Canine Thyroid Epidemic" co-authored by Dr. Dodds and Diana Laverdure
Hemopet : https://www.hemopet.org/
Share the story - it could save a life!
Have a story or topic you would like me to cover? Contact me at : email@example.com
See more of my blog on : https://www.karengrzenda.com/
See Gunner's story here : https://youtu.be/2QPyQDGgEhw
Get your copy of "Heart Dog - Gunner's Story" here : https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Dog-Gunners-Karen-Grzenda/dp/1723804460