Thyroid issues with coon hounds are becoming more of an issue recently. Many coonhounds are prone to thyroid issues with Treeing Walkers being the dog breed that has most notably become stricken with a common condition called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where the body doesn’t get enough hormones through the thyroid. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism within coon hounds are:
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Dry skin and coat
- Susceptibility to other skin diseases
- Aggression / other behavioral changes
There is no “cure” for hypothyroidism. However, there is a diagnosis and a way to manage symptoms. Diagnosis begins with a visit to your vet, they will screen your dog’s blood and give you a hormone pill to feed your dog. This will help the dog’s elevated thyroid level return to a more “normal” level.
This pill acts by shutting down their thyroid as it no longer produces any hormones at all. Since the dog is getting all the hormones it needs through the pill, the thyroid ceases to produce hormones on its own. This becomes an issue when you forget to feed the dog the pill or if you get tired of feeding them medicine daily.
Like Owner, Like Hound
Just like with humans, dogs that struggle with hypothyroidism will not perform to their full capability. Zane Allen, a coon hunter, and contributor to the Houndsman XP podcast has hypothyroidism and explains how much of a difference he can feel when he has missed a pill and how he feels tired. His hound has the same condition and sees the same symptoms in his hound. Often, his dog cannot tree as many coons or work as hard when he has not had his thyroid medication.
Real Diagnosis… Or Just a Crutch?
On the other end of the spectrum; there are a lot of people that use hypothyroidism as a “crutch” or excuse. Oftentimes, when a dog gets sick or over-stressed, its thyroid levels change. When an owner notices a change in their dog’s behavior or coat, the first reaction is to take them to a veterinarian. The veterinarian will run tests and may notice a difference in the dog’s thyroid levels and immediately recommend putting them on medication.
It’s difficult to tell if a dog needs to be medicated or is just stressed or sick.
When in reality, thyroid levels shift constantly. It’s difficult to tell if a dog needs to be medicated or is just stressed or sick. In some cases, it’s best to wait it out and let the dog rest before jumping to medication.
If you notice your dog’s coat becoming dull or notice them shedding excessively and they do not have any thyroid issues, try switching their food. Joy Dog Food’s Performance Line is packed with Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids. These key nutrients give dogs a healthy, shiny coat. Along with enough energy to work all day (or night) long.