Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Word About Hypothyroidism

I was walking on the Oceanside Pier the afternoon of June 9 with a friend when I retrieved a voice mail message from Dr. Bausone. In a tone that seemed more serious than usual, he reported that he received the results of Lara's blood panel. He explained that she had thyroid disease and would have to be put on medication. After a month, I needed to bring her back for a retest to make sure the dose was correct. He went on to say that the blood test would have to be repeated every six months for the rest of her life.

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."
Four weeks ago she began a dosage of .6 mg of Thyrosyn (sodium levothyroxine) tablets every 12 hours. Since then she's been losing weight at a steady pace. Even better, she has the energy and zest for life of the young dog she is. I love this photo because it shows her doing something she couldn't do at all when she first arrived: climb up and down the staircase all day long clutching her favorite stuffed animal in her mouth.

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.


  1. To see her climb those heart warming. Her life has only just begun. I hate that I just quoted Karen Carpenter. ;P

  2. I am amazed at how different she is! You are her angel on this planet. Thank you for rescuing her!