Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Is Your Dog Struggling with Weight in spite of Diet and Exercise? Cookie Is Hypothyroid (Part I)

I've been struggling with Cookie's weight for about two years now.



Cookie spends at least three hours outside every day, doing what she loves - hunting for critters. If that is not being active, I don't know what is.

Ever since she started "filling in" I've been watching what she eats. Over time, I've been giving fewer and fewer calories while Cookies weight was just above of where I wanted it to be. She'd lose a bit, then she'd gain it back. Given her musculoskeletal challenges, I wanted her below optimal but couldn't get her there.

Her present vet was happy with her body condition, but I wasn't. So I kept trying, to no avail.

For the past year, Cookie was getting barely above her resting energy requirement (RER).


I calculated what her RER should be, started a spreadsheet where I entered the caloric value of everything that entered her mouth, including any oils and other supplements. Well, except the spoils of her hunting but seriously, how many calories could the odd field mouse add? (30 - 35 calories, btw, if you wanted to know.)

This has gone on and on with some minor successes but basically being stuck.


By the time of her wellness exam at the beginning of this year, she lost 3 kg. That was some success, but I felt that given how little she eats and how active she is, she should be as skinny as a rail, and she was not. I brought up testing thyroid function.

It wasn't the first time thyroid was on my mind, and not the last.


We tested, she was within the lower half of the normal range ... the range is pretty damn broad, but with numbers as those I didn't have a good argument.

Early this fall, Cookie was due for her Rabies booster. The clinic automatically does a wellness exam with it, which is fine; I even requested a quick blood panel to make sure were vaccinating a healthy dog.

While Cookie didn't look like she's put on any more weight, the scale read her at 6 kg heavier. 6 kg heavier! I don't actually think that's even possible as her harness has been maxed out for its size for a long time and with such weight gain would have to no longer fit.

Whether or not there was something wrong with the scale, before or now, I was looking for a weight loss, not gain.


Whether or not the number was wrong, I did still want Cookie thinner.


So did the vet who examined her. Different from Cookie's family vet, since I didn't think it mattered so much who did the routine stuff.

The vet and I were in agreement that Cookie should be thinner. But I again brought up how little she gets (including all supplements, treats, even the cream cheese I cover her pills with).

If it wasn't a bad thyroid, how could this be explained?


I imagine vets hear all kinds of explanations and excuses for overweight dogs, but I knew I was right. This time I wasn't going to fool around. I said that I wanted a thyroid panel done and that I wanted it done with Dr. Dodds. If we repeated the test from last time, at the same lab as last time, I'd likely have nothing to work with again.

I don't know if the vet believed the problem is anything other than what goes into Cookie's mouth, but she agreed to have the test done.

The results came back quickly and guess what?


Cookie's thyroid function tested very low.


It might have not been as low the first time we tested, but I'm sure it was less than optimal for at least two years.

Finally, I had some empirical data to work with. Cookie was put on thyroxine and guess what?

With all else being equal, within a couple of weeks on the meds, Cookie has lost almost a kilogram.


I thought she was looking thinner, but eyes can deceive. But we did go in to have her weight checked, and that's how much she lost.

Now I actually have to be careful and watch that she doesn't lose too much too fast and that her dose isn't too high as we did have some arguments about what it should be.

Thyroxine dosage is calculated to optimal weight.


But what exactly is that? What she weighed at early this year? Or what she weighed when she was two years old? Technically, I believe it should be around what she weighed when she was around two years old. Which is almost 10 kg less than what the vet figured based on the last assessment.

The difference is that I know Cookie since she was a year and a half and this vet saw her for the first time about a month ago.

I think I'm right about this too but time will tell.


For now, I'm just glad this problem has been nailed down, and it can finally be addressed.

Was the weight gain the only reason I was suspecting bad thyroid?


Continued in Part II


Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot?
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking Too Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 
To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Process 
Figuring out What Might Be Going on with Cookie's Legs: The Diagnosis 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Trazodone  
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Other Medications 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury Treatment: Laser, Hydrotherapy, and Chiropractic 
Cookie's Recovery from Iliopsoas Injury: ToeGrips 
It Never Rains ... Cookie's New Injury 
Mixed Emotions: When What You Should Do Might Not Be What You Should Do for Your Dog 
Cookie's New Injury Update 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: The Symptoms 
Cookie's Iliopsoas Injury: Battling the Zoomies 
Cookie's Muscle Injuries: What Else Is Going On?
Theory and Actual Decisions for an Actual Dog Aren't the Same Thing: Cookie's Knee Injury
Does Your Vet Listen to You? Cookie's Post-Sedation Complications
Would I Ever Treat a Symptom Directly? 
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Cookie's Bad Cruciate Update 
Injury or Surgery Recovery: Mishaps versus Setbacks 
See Something, Do Something: Cookie's Lumpectomy 
Cookie's Lumpectomy Update 
Using Pressure Pads to Evaluate Lameness in Dogs: My Observations
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: What Supplements Am I Using?
Cookie's Musculoskeletal Challenges: Restricted Activity and Weight Management
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear: Update
Has Your Dog's Physical Therapist Taken Dog Training Classes? 
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate Tear Update and Considering the Future
Cookie's PRP Treatment for Partial Cruciate (CCL/ACL) Tear and Leg Circumference
Cookie's Wellness Exam
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: What Do You Use for Tick Prevention?
Ticked Off at the Tick Situation: The Verdict Is In (for Now)
Cookie's Annual Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases Test
One Yelp, No Yelp. But Two?
One Yelp, No Yelp - Update
Cookie's Rabies Booster



Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!


What were the first signs you noticed? How did your dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.




Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

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