Dr Polina Ilieva is a head veterinarian in “Franziska” clinic.
She has graduated at “Trakia” University in Stara Zagora and has had many specialization courses in Bulgaria and abroad.

Most people don’t know their dogs or cats can also have hormonal diseases and in fact, this happens quite often. Just like humans, the reasons for an animal to got sick from a hormonal disease are varying a lot – stress, bad food or life conditions, autoimmune conditions, cancer etc.

I often see hypothyroidism at dogs. Of course, pets suffer it too, but in my work with stray animals, it is very often met.

The thyroid gland is located in the throat, near the trachea. It produces the hormones T3 and T4 and their amount is controlled by another hormone – TSH, produced by the  pituitary gland, located in the brain.

If the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, the condition is called hypothyroidism. If it produces too many hormones, it is called hyperthyroidism.
In both cases the work of the whole organism changes.

Hypothyroidism can be inherited or cause by a variety of reasons – thyroid cancer, autoimmune diseases etc.

The truth is, that every sudden change in the mood or in the appearance of your dog, you must visit your vet – early diagnostic is half of the successful treatment.

– Sudden weight gain;
– Apathy;

– Hair loss;

– Pigmentation /spots on the skin)

Although it isn’t described in the literature, in my work I have met tens of cases, when hypothyroidism causes weight loss, instead of gain.

Laboratory tests of T3, T4 and TSH is sufficient for a certain diagnosis.


A dog with hypothyroidism will take hormone pills during its whole life. The medicines aren’t expensive and with good care, the dog can have long and normal life. Often checks of the hormone levels is required in order to determine the dosage of the medicine.


We took Anubis after he spent a few months roaming the streets of Vratza. For the small sized pet, the fear and the stress was so big, that his condition worsened extremely quickly.
In addition to the unnatural weight gain and baldness, he also has a secondary infection and dermatitis.

He is treated for a months now – hormones for the hypothyroidism and antibiotics for the secondary infections – and results are now visible.

Photo credit: Ivanka Patterson for Stardust Pictures

17 June 2019 | Library

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