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Thyroid testing, maybe hypothyroidism
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 09:54:36
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • poor Bowdu. You can ask for Atopica until he find a permanant solution. My pup had all sorts of infections from him constnatly chewing his paws..Atopica was the only thing that helped him. Were going to see a Holistic Vet this week to see if they have some naturals cures and perhaps maybe give him some acupuncture. I know this can be tough..but hang in there.
  • Hemopet is the only place who should be looking at Bowdus blood. They are the place to test thyroids.

    I am sorry you are going through this. We are doing all the same things for Ruby's allergies however her only symptoms are itching and we have narrowed it down to grass pollen and chicken, and eggs.

    I hope that you find some satisfactory results soon.
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    Thank you so much for the HemoPet and related links. Lucy has also been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She had all of the symptoms you describe for Bowdu, except for the skin discoloration. Her behavior was also somewhat inconsistent. She clearly wanted to be friendly and wasn't afraid of other people or dogs. She'd go right up to people and other dogs, but would suddenly back off and start a Shiba scream. Sometimes. Sometimes, she'd settle in for a nice long massage from whoever she could get to do it, whether she knew them or not. We couldn't find any pattern of gender, age, clothing or circumstances. Since her thyroid treatment began about 3 months ago, she's a lot better but still a bit erratic. She should also be losing weight, since she also does not overeat at all. She went from 22lbs to 34lbs in a year. She hasn't really lost any weight yet. I'd love to have her tested more thoroughly. I think she's better but something is still off. All of her fur and odor issues are completely gone. She's still a bit lethargic but that could be due to her weight. She isn't on any other medication besides the thyroid meds. A year and a half ago, she had cancer surgery and was on steroids for a while, to reduce inflammation. but it's been almost a year since her last medication for cancer.

    Please let me know what you think of the Hemopet testing, if you decide to do it. I'm going to ask Lucy's vet about it at her next checkup and blood work, in October.

    I know several Shibas in my meetup groups who are being treated for hypothyroidism. I would be interested to find any vets/researchers who may work in breed-specific research on hypothyroidism. I often wonder how many Shibas end up in shelters or rescue due to behavioral issues that are symptom of hypothyroidism. It would be great to know if there is a breed prevalence toward hypothyroidism. I'd think that information would be helpful to breed clubs and rescues.
  • I believe there is a breed prevalence toward hypothyroidism. I thought that I saw it once among the list of possible things Shibas could get, but now I'm not sure where I saw that.

    Both my Shibas are hypothyroid, and the only signs I saw were behavioral (though now Toby is quite overweight and probably needs to be retested). I had to insist that my vet do the test based on behavioral issues (aggression, and in Bel's case, confusion) and both came in low. We did not do the entire panel. It would be useful information, no doubt, but we found what we needed from the T4. From my vet it was $60.

    They've improved immensely once they were treated. both calmed down quite a bit, and the aggression issue are gone. (Don't forget to give them the thyroid meds properly, if you get them. It had little effect when I gave it to them with a meal, instead of two hours before a meal!) We didn't have any of the other issues, though.

    anyway, I hope you get some answers and Bowdu is better soon!
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    I used Dr. Dodds with a jindo. I highly recommend sending it to her lab for the 6 panel study. She will send the results back to your vet along with recommendations and will consult with you over the phone if you would like and/or also with your vet. I found the 6 panel test to be cheaper if done by he lab than the 2 panel if it were sent out to our vet's lab. Paying to ship it to CA made it about the same price. The post office will not ship blood, even if from a dog; it had to be done through ups.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    Also, my vet would not send it to Dr. Dodds. They would only send it to their lab. I had to convince them to allow me to send it to CA, which became my responsibility to pack it, etc. The vet charged me a minimal amount to draw the blood.
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    You will definitely be happy when all this is over and Bowdu begins treatment. It is so worth it. It makes a HUGE difference to the dog and you will likely have a calmer, more even tempered dog with a nice fluffy coat!
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-08-19 19:43:23
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    I forgot to mention that before treatment, Lucy behaved the same as Bowdu at the vet. We thought she just hated the vet. She'd start screaming the minute she walked in the door. We had to muzzle her. She scared other dogs in the waiting room. After about 3 months of treatment (it takes a while for treatment to become fully effective), we took her back for her last tests. She wasn't happy, but there was no screaming Shiba operas and no epic Shiba battles.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    There was a post on the jindo list which says there is a correlation between wheat allergy and autoimmune thyroid disease. Have you tried elimating all wheat from the diet?

    Also, I believe it is the University of Michigan that is also a good place to send the blood for testing. Maybe your vet would be more open to that.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    One shiba/akita person I know had an akita who kept getting gum infections. This person knew that it could possibly be thyroid, but it took a lot of convincing for her vet to do the testing. Well, the akita tested extremely low, was started on soloxine, and the gum infections stopped.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    One word of warning; I had also had basic blood work done at the same time which required the blood to be kept refrigerated, so I had to pack it special with an ice pack and overnight it. That shipping was 50 some dollars! The thyroid test does not require refrigeration. I think I sent it as a 3 day delivery, so that cost around $20. Now, that was coming from PA.
    If you have one done that does require being kept cold, make sure you have it done early in the week so it doesn't sit out there over the weekend.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Poor pup. I feel so bad for them when it is this stressful at the visit. Each incident sets them over the edge more the next time. You know with allergies or thyroid the behavior can be irritable and erratic, so I hope either way you can get to the bottom of it soon. If I had not seen it myself with others and the difference of before and after treatment regarding behavior I would never had believed it. Appropriate meds do help in either situation to reduce the curmudgeon crankiness.

    Right now I am struggling with allergies with my youngest dog and the vet is going every conceivable route other than allergy so I am off to the a specialty vet since my basic vet won't listen. Drives me bats... I have been through this before with another....Uggh....I am beginning to think the 70% of the Shibas out there are allergy ridden.

    Anyway, to get back on track....Make sure you get copy of all your file records and past blood work for your own files in case you need to find another vet.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-08-19 23:26:18
  • Wow, I'm sorry you had to go through this and that your dogs did!

    I'd change vets too. I understand that not every vet is going to want to send the blood work out elsewhere, but bottom line, you're the person paying for this, and they should agree to this. What disturbs me even more, though, is something I've seen at other VCA's and had forgotten about because I've only gone there in an emergency--I don't like that they take the dog away to treat them. I want to see what is happening with my dog. (Unless it's surgery or something).

    Why was it $500?

    I have to sedate my Shibas before taking them to the vet. My vet gave me acepromazine (sp?) and I give them a very very small dose before I bring them in. Actually, Toby doesn't need it anymore. The vet's hope was that if they had several calm visits, they'd get used to it, and wouldn't need the drugs, and what happened was Toby spent 4 weeks at the vet, so he now thinks of it as a second home. (He's scared, but he goes willing with no theatrics). Bel's just scared, but she gets so scared we figure it is better for her to be lightly sedated.

    anyway, I'm really sorry you're dealing with a difficult vet in addition to everything else....

    Keep us posted....
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-08-20 05:11:24
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • TengaiTengai
    Posts: 275
    In respect to being hypothyroid(low thyroid) and having the itches. I personaly am hypothyroid, have been for 20 years. I also about 10years ago started having a systemic persistant itchy condition. Turns out I have autoimmune hypothroidism, which can manifest with these conditions. I am on zyrtec 365 days a year which keeps it under control. If I miss one dose the itcheness is back. Just wonder if may of the allergies we are seeing in shibas who are hypothroid or borderline hypothyroid are manifesting the same symptoms because of the autoimmune issues related to hypothroidism.
    Just a thought.


    Phil
  • Interesting thought about the hypothyroid causing allergy like symptoms too...I wouldn't be surprised.

    Michigan State has a very good vet school. My former vets (when I lived in Michigan) got their degrees there and they were very progressive--in fact, they got me on the raw diet.

    I guess it looks like your bill is just what it is for where you live, but damn, that is REALLY expensive. I pay about half that for everything, but I don't know what they do in that blood work test....probably check a lot of things? When we do the T4 only it is $50, but I live in NM not CA.

    Anyway, I hope you get an answer....
  • I don't know if this helps at all but I recently took my pup to a holistic vet and they recommended that I get some "power mushrooms" as it is known to do some amazing things. I have had friends parents/grandparents use it themselves and they really believe in that stuff. I think I'm going to get some pills and see how that goes..in the end I realize all these antibiotics and steroids/medicine is probably doing more damage than harm to my pup. I just need to start getting things to boost his immune system up. Seems to be a little better than before now though. BOL
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-08-22 01:43:51
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • I'm not at all surprised that it was thyroid. My female is low normal, but her aggression and confusion problems cleared up with thyroid treatment....my vet was of the opinion that low normal means lets treat it til we get it in the high functioning range, and that has been very successful for us.

    I'm glad you got an answer, and I hope this clears up the skin problems.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    From what I understand, with thyroid, some breeds do better to be kept in the middle or above range. Being in the low normal means they should be treated. Once on the meds, they should be tested at least once a year to adjust if necessary, but once on it, I believe they are on it for the rest of their lives.

    Even for myself, I was bordering on the low normal. My dr. gave me the option of treating or waiting til it became necessary. I decided to go ahead and start it and it did make a difference.
  • lepercannlepercann
    Posts: 243
    Just as a comparison, Sophie's vet bill was $129 for the skin scraping and bloodwork. My vet tests the blood right in the office. Her fur has stopped falling out since starting the hypothyroid meds and I hope her undercoat grows back. Right now all she has is a fuzzy little head and skinny body. :)
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by curlytails at 2010-08-31 05:11:58
  • Thanks for the update. Glad to hear you boy is already improving, and am also really thankful for all the information you posted here. It is really useful, and gives me a better sense of what is going on with my dogs too.

    I think next time I test them I will send it to Hemopet. I'd like to have more comprehensive information then I get from just getting the T4 numbers I get from my vet. Also, it was VERY useful to get why they should have the pills 1 hour before a meal or 3 hours afterwords (I thought it was two hours before, so this is useful too....). I asked my vet about timing when I found out--here on the forum--that I was doing it wrong, and she said exactly what Dr. Dobbs said....she was never told that in vet school and did not have a lot of experience with thyroid issues. We talked about it later, and she'd done some research, heard that people needed it before a meal, and was now telling everyone how to do it correctly. (Actually, I had to really convince them to thyroid test my dogs because they had no obvious symptoms--haircoat problems, etc.--but now I hear them recommending thryoid tests all the time!

    Re finding a good vet: you may not find one that familiar with Shibas or thyroid issues, but if you find one more open to learning more and listening, you'll probably do well. I consider myself lucky that my vet listens and learns as well as teaches me. They're pretty old school, but inspite of that, good to work with. (And I'm at the vet A LOT so I need that!)
  • Great news, Sophie's levels are perfect. Retest in 3 months. Her fur is even growing back.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    I purchased soloxine from 1-800 pet meds and it was very reasonable. It took a little to get the vet to agree to write the prescription.
  • Post edited by curlytails at 2010-09-16 03:52:12
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    Something else to check into is that often the thryoid meds for dogs are the same as for humans and it can be filled at a regular pharmacy. I had taken the written prescription my vet gave to walmart where they have the 30 days/$4 and 90 days/$10, but the dogs' doseage wasn't one that was included. Had the vet written the prescription differently, they would have filled it; didn't care if it was for a dog. I knew of a person who's dog was on some other human medication and this is what they did; filled it at a regular pharmacy.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    The USPS guy I had even pulled out the book to show me where it said "no blood" when I protested it was canine.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
  • shibaserfshibaserf
    Posts: 247
    Thanks, everyone who has contributed to this thread. Lucy still struggles with her hypothyroidism. She was doing better for a while, but her fur started getting brittle and oily in spots again. She's much better than she was but she's still not right. She also managed to gain 2 lbs. She really doesn't eat much at all and it's all home cooking - meat with vegitable - no other carb (well, does the occasional bite of pizza really count?). Fortunately, the weight gain and messed up fur are her only symptoms I see. She hasn't seemed disoriented. I really hope the vet can find a way to help and Bowdu gets better!

    She was back at the vet today, with her best Shiba Opera performance yet. The vet is going to run a wide range of blood tests, not only for thyroid but for other stuff that could be causing weight gain and lethargy.

    Lucy is also on Soloxine and thanks to you, Brad, we've tried really hard to give it to her an hour before meals.

    Curlytails - how much does Bowdu weigh? Lucy is about 36lbs (at least 12 lbs more than she should be) and she's on .3mg. Either the dose is too low or she's got other issues. I suppose she could also be diabetic but she almost never eats non-vegetable carb. Not even potato or rice. She doesn't even like sweets or bread.

    What's your dog's weight and how much is she on, Brad?

    Hopefully, I'll hear more about the blood tests tomorrow.
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287
    Shibaserf,

    I checked with my two, and both were emphatic that bites of pizza do NOT count.

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