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Part 1 : After Gunner – more mistakes! MORE LEARNING!!!

Liar (red) and Blaze (black)

The frustration level I have, I cannot even explain. Let me start by saying, two weeks ago I took both Liar and Blaze in for their full panel thyroid test which was the first time they had had a full panel since their original diagnosis 7 years ago. I posted their test results in a Facebook group called “Hypothyroidism in Dogs”. Within minutes of me posting, someone private messaged me and asked “You wrote a book about Gunner and hypothyroidism, you’re an advocate for hypothyroidism, how come you were over medicating and giving the pills wrong?”


In October of 2018, I published “Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story” and am told it’s a really good read for all dog lovers! Where it has a lot of laughs, it also describes how our Gunner (blue Doberman) showed symptoms of Hypothyroidism at three months old which started as bad gas and escalated to full blown aggression. He was finally diagnosed with Hypothyroidism at three years old (due to persistence from a breeder friend), made a complete turnaround but sadly passed away to DCM at 7 years old.

So here’s what happened. I specifically wrote the book to be funny, a good ‘dog story’ but also to teach about Hypothyroidism! I wrote “Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story” as I wanted people to learn from my mistakes. For people to read and learn about some of the signs of hypothyroidism and how they were consistently mis-diagnosed.

I’m going to give you a point form “time line” here for the rest of the story.

  • July 2018 – Became un-employed from the company I worked at full time as they sold to competitors. This is important because it lead me to have more home time which is where I also had constant interaction with Liar and Blaze all day long.

  • July 2018 – Started writing “Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story”

  • October 2018 – Published “Heart Dog – Gunner’s Story” via Amazon.

  • November 2018 – Regretted dreadfully not stating in the book Gunner’s dosage level, how to test and how to give his meds.

  • December 2018 – Joined Facebook after 5 year hiatus.

  • January 2019 – Joined Facebook group called “Hypothyroidism in Dogs”. Quickly become completely MORTIFIED by posts as: 1) the dosage level that Gunner was always on was too high, 2) The CURRENT dose that both Blaze and Liar have been on for the last 7 years are also too high, 3) I’m giving the pills WITH food. 4) Because I was home all the time with Blaze and Liar, I was now also noticing slight hypothyroid symptoms still present.

All of these are different than what I “knew” or thought I “knew”. I started to do more research, and learned that over medicating dogs with thyroid meds can cause heart problems. Gunner passed away by literally dropping dead due to DCM. Thanks goes to God that I never discussed how to test, give meds, or the dosage amounts as I was COMPLETELY WRONG!!!

That day I cried again as I realized that it was likely that I failed Gunner not once, but twice leading to his death and was currently in the process of failing both Blaze and Liar!

I immediately contacted my current vet and she agreed to drop the med levels, we would run Liar and Blaze on new levels for three months and do a full panel thyroid test.

I had specifically requested that the vet at that time draw the blood and the test be sent to Hemopet for complete analysis but the vet would not agree to that. Hemopet had emailed me a comprehensive form on how to draw the blood, where to send it, how to ship it as well as a document for customs (included in picture).

The document says : “This testing is unavailable in __________ (country of origin)” and requires the vets signature. Our current vet, who I like very much, did not feel confident in signing that as she said it WAS available through IDEXX.

My complaint with IDEXX is that it uses “General” references for ALL dogs where as Hemopet will analyze specifically to breed and age. Either way, my intent was to get the results and post to the Facebook group anyways so even though it was MORE expensive in my vets office, because I liked this vet, I submitted to having the blood test taken in her office and the testing done through IDEXX.

The results are in!!!

So here’s the post I made today (May 17, 2019) in the Facebook group “Hypothyroidism in Dogs” on Liar WITH his test results :

  • LIAR : 7 year old male neutered Doberman. Ideal weight around 90lbs. Has been on thyroid meds since 1.5yo and WAS getting .8 2x/day up until…

  • Feb 07, 2019 - worried about overmedication so dropped him to .6 2x/day BUT continued to give WITH food.

  • April 14, 2019 - maintained .6 2x/day BUT now giving WITHOUT food.

  • OLD Symptoms: Liar has always been somewhat fearful, not very food oriented, somewhat boo hoo hoey dog. He gets fed 4 small meals a day and a lot of times couldn't careless if he was fed. Didn't really play much with toys, just Blaze or snuggles us. “Change” bothers him to no end, move a piece of living room furniture and he's VERY concerned/fearful for about a week. Had regular idiopathic head tremors (1-3 a week). Always had signs of bilateral balding but where it was thin, he now had bald patches the size of a kiwi on either side.

  • When pills were changed, we noticed a significant change! And now with pills WITHOUT food change again but not for the good.

  • Liar within a week of changing his meds, started playing with toys. He even learned "fetch"! He even helped me vacuum by following me around as opposed to giving himself timeout in his kennel. Seemed a lot happier, eating really well, was taking "change" in stride, toenails are growing like weeds (have to dremel every 4 days) and his hair started to get thicker on his two patches. BUT... Shortly after changing to meds WITHOUT FOOD, he started to slide a bit back into fearfulness (not as bad), his third eyelid is visible most times and has eye gook which he's never had. He's better than he was before but not as good as he got there for a bit.

  • May 8, 2019 : Full panel test at vets, 5 hours past morning pill. Please note, this was day 91 on new pills, but only day 25 on new pills WITHOUT food.

And here’s the post I made today (May 17, 2019) in the Facebook group “Hypothyroidism in Dogs” on Blaze WITH her test results :


  • BLAZE THYROID RESULTS: Good morning everyone! It's been an ordeal to say the least but would really appreciate opinions.

  • BLAZE : 11 year old female spayed Doberman. Ideal weight around 70lbs. Has been on thyroid meds since 4 yo and WAS getting .6 2x/day up until…

  • Feb 07, 2019 - worried about overmedication so dropped her to .5 2x/day BUT continued to give WITH food.

  • April 14, 2019 - maintained .5 2x/day BUT now giving WITHOUT food.

  • OLD Symptoms: Blaze has always been somewhat barky, ocd-ish and threw up at least 2 times a week. She gets fed 4 small meals a day and if I was 5 minutes late she'd throw up bile. VERY food motivated and would probably eat a razor blade if I fed it to her. She started at 4 with bilateral balding which did get somewhat better but as she got older she was said to have alopecia and hair was VERY thin on back end.

  • When pills were changed, we noticed a significant change! And now with pills WITHOUT food even more!

  • She hasn't thrown up in about 2 months (shocked!), seems a lot less neurotic, toenails are growing like weeds (have to dremel every 4 days) and her hair is a lot thicker on her back end! HUGE improvements!

  • May 8, 2019 : Full panel test at vets, 5 hours past morning pill. Please note, this was day 91 on new pills, but only day 25 on new pills WITHOUT food.

Reviewing the test result of BOTH dogs via the Facebook group : They’re actually pretty darn good considering I've lowered their meds!

Blaze is doing REAL well (better than ever) but I’ll be checking her cortisol levels. Believe it or not, she was the significant reason why I still gave pills WITH food as she was always throwing up bile if even minutes late for supper! Since changing her med level and giving WITHOUT food, she has thrown up two times which I am totally shocked about! Honestly, I NEVER would have believed she would have stopped throwing up as I thought it was always hunger related, turns out this is ALSO a sign of Hypothyroidism.

Liar however, we’re going to drop him down to .55 as the thought is he was doing really well on .6 WITH food which effects absorption so WITHOUT food his symptoms say it’s still a tad much. I’ll admit, by reviewing the results myself, I thought he’d be getting a tad MORE like maybe to .65 but I will go with what the group says as the proof is in the pudding! They KNOW what they’re talking about!

Let’s go back to that private message I received this morning after I posted. Why was I overdosing my dogs?

For the many different vets I took the dogs to, not one caught the over medicating, not one recommended a full panel in fact the contrary, they always said T4 in-house test was good enough. Truth be told, at overdosing, there were still dramatic positive effects so I became complacent and never questioned anything. I knew about giving the pills without food (1 hour before or 3 hours after) but had discussed with every vet as Gunner and Blaze had tendencies to vomit if they did not get fed immediately upon waking up. Also, because of feeding 4 times per day, it was difficult! All vets said to just be consistent and that it didn’t really matter. As I started staying home with the dogs upon becoming unemployed, it was only then that I started to notice that they showed symptoms. They were more on the minor side but still there…

But here’s the kicker for me. When I called the vets office to make the appointment, I talked to reception and stated that I needed an appointment for Liar and Blaze for a full panel thyroid in between 12:00 and 1:00pm as it had to be 5-6 hours after pill was ingested, as well as a follow up appointment with the vet to discuss the results as well as give Liar his check-up. This simple phone call lasted 20 minutes and got a little heated! The vet wasn’t available to be seen at the time of the blood draw. But the vet didn’t have to be there as the results would take a week to come back. After arguing I realized that the receptionist wasn’t even booking us for a full panel but just another in house T4! She went so far as to say I only needed a T4! FALSE!!! Then she stated that I could do the full panel AND see the doctor at 3:00pm and come back for the results at a later time. But then I had to explain that the blood had to be drawn 5-6 hours post pill and felt it unnecessary to have two appointments with the vet.

Finally, the appointments did get booked. We did get the blood drawn at the right time and the tests were sent away to IDEXX. I had booked the follow up appointment for Liar a week later as this should allow for the results to come back, be emailed to me, give me time to share to the group, get their opinions and then discuss with the vet.

Sadly, IDEXX was behind so the second vet visit was cancelled as I didn’t get the results in time but again this was a fight. By this time, our pills had run out so I had to go in and pick up more pills.

Part two of this blog will occur after that vet visit next Wednesday and part three will be in a few months!

Lastly, one of the members of the group had stated to me I should get another vet. I’m sick of getting new vets! I’m sick of re-inventing the wheel so to speak with each vet. Truthfully to give the vets credit, they can only learn so much at school, the rest has to be through experience. Hypothyroidism has well over 70 different signs or symptoms that mimic other illnesses from allergies, IBS, infections, Wobblers, behavioral problems. All of these can easily be written off, our vets can only properly diagnose if WE educate ourselves and continue to work WITH the vets and simply put, force issues and demand tests.

I like our current vet A LOT as she seems eager to learn WITH me! I will continue to work with her and learn WITH her but! The next test WILL go to Hemopet and if she refuses, I will go elsewhere.

Also know, if this is the first time you’ve read a blog of mine, particularly about Hypothyroidism and you’re eager to learn – please review my other blogs!

General canine blogs :

Please learn from my mistakes! And please share this story as well as with your own so that others LEARN to fight for their dogs!

Karen Grzenda

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Join that Hypothyroidism in dogs Facebook group - they're amazing! The without food drives me nuts because I swear with everything in me, I thought Blaze would continue vomiting! She threw up on average 3 times a week if we were 5 minutes late with her breakfast... I'm still shocked she doesn't now! But then, vomiting IS a symptom!


I am continually learning too, Karen! Never stop learning. The more stories I hear, the more thankful I am that my vet clinic is SO amazing! My vet works really hard to make sure that any issues we face (together) are dealt with in the best way possible. He knows I'm not the biggest fan of Idexx and has also chosen to send to Hemopet in certain scenarios as well. I personally find it easier to just have someone at the clinic draw and spin the blood, so that I can ship it myself. I just sent 5 samples and the per test cost for a Thyroid Panel 5, including shipping and exchange, was still about $40 cheaper than Idexx…


And that is truly all I hope for and that's why I share constantly. We're accustomed to being told things by professionals and we don't question them or don't question them enough... We can't be afraid to ask and we need to know that not all professionals know everything. So we must share and continue to learn.😊


Cher Lindsey
Cher Lindsey
May 17, 2019


Because of you and my persistence, I got what i needed figured out in one months time. I requested a complete thyroid panel and he sent to MSU. I then sent results to Dr. Jean Dodds to get my level changed right away and with full cooperation from my vet. I wasn't told about meds and food from my vet but lucky for me. Dr. Dodds wrote to me promptly several times via email and even told me it was ok to add iodized table salt to my raw diet.

I am grateful for you and the hypothyroidism group who saved me a lot of aggravation.

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