My heart sunk as my mind raced to the worst case scenario -- that this was a progressive disease that at some point would become life threatening. Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong.
I learned her hypothyroidism is quite common, easy to treat and that the cost of the medication is very affordable.
When I saw Dr. B he gave me a handout by Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM explaining how the thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolism. When it is overactive, pooches (and people) tend to be thin. This is called hyperthyroidism. Conversely, an underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism, causes the thyroid to slow down.
Lara demonstrated many of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Weight gain.
- Lethargy and a lack of desire to exercise.
- Dry, dull hair with excessive shedding.
- Increased dark pigmentation in the skin.
- Thickening of the facial skin resulting in what is called "tragic facial expression."
Once again I learned that knowledge is power. The diagnosis has given her a new quality of life. As I reported earlier, Dr. Bausone even held out the possibility that once she is down to her ideal weight her hypothyroidism might be managed with supplements only.