Thyroid condition linked to aggression? Really? Advice? when to know when enough is enough?

By the way he came back heartworm negative. Yay.

Okay so in dealing with a dog that has had sudden aggression issues toward other animals and starting to act out around people, the vet wants his thyroid tested for Hypothyroidism.

(just so you know he has never been a healthy dog)

But doesn’t hypothyroidism cause a dog to have excessive weight gain, and we have trouble keeping weight on him?

Anyways he wants to check for that. And he also wants to do a scan to rule out Hydrocephalus. (this is getting expensive, I don’t want to sound like a bad owner but money is tight)

What should we do? It could just be behavioral or it could be medical but his medical bills over the years have wiped us out. The vet is willing to do a payment plan, but how many more tests and treatments before enough is enough for the dog and us?

We’ve been living at the vets office the whole 2 years of his life, it seems we get one condition managed and he develops another.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not giving up until he is done fighting but I’m tired and how do we know when medically we are doing more harm than good?
Again I am in no way giving up on him. But how do we know that all these tests and treatments and hospital time isn’t making the situation worse?

Will he ever be healthy? Or is this his constant reality
It just seems he keeps getting more and more health issues and we keep going more and more broke.
ADD: We have been to 7 or 8 vets in 2 years

5 comments

  • Loki ☯ Wolfchild

    An interesting article on dog aggression…note the statement, " Dogs affected by hypothyroidism related aggression can show other typical signs of thyroid deficiency, like lethargy, obesity, skin problems, etc. However, in some cases the only symptom is aggression itself. Therefore, the fact that the dog shows no other signs of hypothyroidism doesn’t preclude a diagnosis of hypothyroidism related aggression."
    http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WSAVA2002&PID=2562

    I’m not sure a scan for Hydrocephalus would be useful, especially if there are no other signs (enlarged/domed head, mental dullness, etc.)

    ADD: Another interesting article (a "sign up" window will pop-up when you first open it. Just click "close window" at the bottom…you don’t need to sign up for anything)
    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx

    Note the discussion of hypothyroidism percentiles.

    It is really up to you to decide when enough is enough. I"m not sure that extensive testing could make an aggression problem worse, but if you feel you’ve done all you can, you give the testing a break and see if you can make any progress on your own.

    I don’t know this dog’s history; it’s up to you to determine whether or not he has quality of life – if the good days outnumber the bad, keep going; if not…re-evaluate.

  • Lorraine

    When it comes to thyroids then you have the "under" and the "over" active.

    What your vet is suggesting is the over active which will result in difficulty in keeping weight on him, and very well could show as aggression purely because he is up on his toes on edge all the time.

    It is the underactive that will lead to weight gain and a slow pace.

    Having said that I have no direct experience of it and so cannot give you other answers.

  • KoAussie

    There are two types of thyroid disease: hypo and hyper, each with different symptoms and not all dogs exhibit the typical symptoms.

    Dog aggression is a VERY COMMON sign of thyroid disease and it is well worth the time to have the dog tested. Thyroid medication costs pennies per pill and is very inexpensive.

  • Biyonca

    Have you gone to different vets and gotten different opinions? One vet doesn’t know everything, and another vet may have come across this before.
    Here is info on hydrocephalus (doesn’t sound like your dog has it):
    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hydrocephalus-in-dogs/page1.aspx

    Heres info on hypothyroidism:
    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs/page1.aspx

    We had a dog with a thyroid problem, but she was too heavy, and loved to lay in front of the fireplace or heater, but never became more aggressive.
    You should definitely get more opinions.

  • GinnyK

    I had a dog with a very serious aggression problem and I asked my vet about the hypothyroid test and she said there was no way my dog had that problem without even testing him because he was so hyper. I only went to the vet after talking to several behaviorists and dog trainers and reading 50 or 60 dog books. No-one could help me with this dog’s aggression, the experts all thought he had a mental disorder but I believe his complete lack of socialization with humans as a young puppy made him too feral to ever live with humans as his pack. When he tried to kill me, I finally gave him back to the rescue realizing it was either him or me. I was hysterical, believing I’d failed my dog although everyone was saying I’d done more than anyone else. My vet said something very useful, she said that it wasn’t his fault he was the way he was and it wasn’t mine but I had to do something about him.

    In the research on my dog I learned that a low protein diet for your dog has been shown in studies to reduce aggression.

    In re-reading your note, it sounds like your dog might be in pain or something. My mother was pretty miserable when she had cancer on her spine and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her.

    If your instinct is telling you to hold off on these tests, then do that, you live with this dog so you know him better that the vet. Trust your instinct. You can try a holistic vet or a nutritionist or a behaviorist or a trainer. There are lots and lots of healthy and sweet dogs that are being put down everyday because there is no room for them. Rescuing another dog helped me psychologically with giving up on my dangerous dog. My current dog is absolutely wonderful.

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