Help for dog with low-thyroid condition.?

My 9 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback was recently diagnosed with low-thyroid. She was lethargic, had gained weight, not wanting to get up or eat her regular meals. The Vet did lab work and her T-levels were 4 and 6.9. "Levothyroxine" was prescribed: 600mcg twice a day but I just felt that was too much and have been giving her 400mcg ‘bid’ instead. Now, on the 11th day, she has perked up just a little but still just isn’t "right". She is also arthritic in her hips and has been taking a combo of "Traumeel" and "Zeel" (1 tablet each, 2 times a day). I have been taking her for very short walks to help strengthen her leg/thigh muscles as well but she doesn’t like the cold weather and isn’t eager to walk much.
I am searching for anecdotal observations and suggestions for her condition.
Thank you ver much!
Using the calculation I found on the internet, 10# of dog’s weight x 100mcg and the fact that she was at 91# at the time, I felt that 1200mg was too much. She looks like she has lost a few pounds since beginning the treatment.
Historically, she has been fed "Beneful" with occasional attempts at Iams, and other high-end brands of kibble. She had injured her gum on a "jerky" type treat a neighbor gave her and wouldn’t eat dry food so I began giving her "Pedigree" canned supplemented with a homemade mixture of mostly rice & lentils with a few black beans and stewed chicken. She is only eating about 1 1/2 cups of this per day plus a breakfast piece of whole grain toast with olive oil.
OK, here’s more: My Emma doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite anymore and I have to cajole her to go out to P & P (about every 12 hours). She is hesitant to try to jump off the bed our couch and seems content to just stay in a prone position. She’d had a lump on her inner thigh/belly area that fre over 2 years from walnut size to about lime size that has disappeared in the last month. The Vet had giadnosed it as a "fatty tumor" but it was never aspirated to rule out anything else. My Black Lab crossed the Rainbow Bridge last July from PLE. I have rescued dogs & cats for many years and I am now down to one dog and one cat; I’m feeling depressed and so worried about my dog and I’m afraid she can sense my despair. I massage her achy right shoulder & hips and talk to her in "dog-speak" to encourage her. To make matters worse, I’ll be out of town for a week and I’m worried something awful will happen although loving "dog-neighbors" will pet-sit while I’m gone.
It’s now 8pm and Emma did get off the couch to go outside. She’s wobbly on and keeping her her back feet close together. I guess, after spending 12 hours lying on the couch and then getting up would (and does) make it difficult for me to walk too. I have severe arthritis and a bad hip and I hobble around for a while when I get out of bed or stand up after sitting for a long time. She managed to get up the 5 steps to go out but "bunny hops". She peed but no poop but she hadn;t eaten her breakfast so perhaps there wasn’t anything to evacuate. I gave her a nice slow shoulder massage when she sat down instead of coming straight in, then she got up and came inside and ate her dinner and has now hopped up on the bed.
Also, just a FYI: Our Vet specializes in cats and took over the practice from another Vet several years ago. Could she be missing something? She knows Emma very well and is prone to homeopathic treatment vs. "standard" Rymadyl, etc. type treatments.


  • langlaiszoo

    Dianne: My first question is what have you been feeding all these years? My 13 yr old does not have arthritis, but he’s been on a raw diet for 12 of those years, and I’m pretty sure that is why he doesn’t have any.

    Levothyroxine will provide T4 but not all the hormone needed. You may want to try giving her Armour, which is natural dessicated pig thyroid. That’s what I take.

    You can read about the downsides to using synthetic hormone on This is geared towards humans, but I would give it to my dogs if any of them were hypothyroid.

    Bromelain has been very effective for arthritis in dogs. If I had a dog with painful arthritis, I would put them on shark cartilage. It is very effective. Took my old Lab years ago 3 wks to start acting like a pup again.

    Mast cells will appear and then disappear as you have described. Fatty tumors do not usually behave that way. the wobbly behavior does not sound like arthritis to me. I would have your girl checked for Cushing’s, which can cause some of the symptoms you are describing. At the very least, I would do an x-ray. you cannot believe how many RRs have had spleen tumors that rupture, and no one knows it is there.

    I have now heard of a 6 yr old, 9 yr old, 11 yr old and my 12 yr old having that type of tumor. A 14 yr old had one as well, had it removed, and lived another almost year.

  • Nandina (Bunny Slipper Goddess)

    Why are you changing the dosage? Does your vet know and did he okay the change? He’s the one who went to school for several years, after all.

    For reference, my 14 year old, 19-lb Mini Schnauzer is on .2mg (200mcg) of Thyroxine twice a day because she is hypothyroid. That’s .1mg (100mcg) per 10lbs of bodyweight, which is the recommended dosage.

    600mcg is .6 mg, and considering the weight difference between a Mini Schnauzer and a Rhodesian, .6mg sounds more right than .4mg. Unless your Rodesian is 40 pounds, it sounds like you are under-dosing her.

    "The typical dose administered to dogs is 10 micrograms per pound (22 mcg/kg) orally every 12 hours, but some dogs require less than this. Final dose adjustments are made on the basis of blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels."

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