a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Vet Clarifications for Tika

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vet Clarifications for Tika

SUMMARY: Follow-up to Thoughts From the Heart.

Spoke to the vet. Yup, I misunderstood about the thyroid. Normal is .8 to 3.5, "low-normal" is .8 to 1.0. Tika tested at .9.

He says that the measurement can vary widely even at different times of the day, so one reading like this doesn't necessarily mean anything. He says the key indicators of low thyroid are a decrease in energy and weight gain, and he doesn't see either of those with Tika.

I did note that she doesn't have as much energy as she used to--chases the ball or frisbee a very few times instead of relentlessly, for example, but does chase them full speed. She looked pretty energetic before and after being in the ring all weekend this last weekend.

I've chalked that all up to being older and/or recurring soreness or arthritis acting up and subsiding.

He pointed out that her heart murmur-- 3 on a scale of 0 to 6--could have the exact sort of symptoms as that or low thyroid, pointing out the difficulty of diagnosing a specific thing.

He recommended another thyroid test no sooner than a month from now, and unless I really notice a change in energy levels, even 3 months or more would be fine to wait, and if it reads low again, then we can decide what to do.

He noted that, once thyroid meds are started, they have to continue for the rest of the dog's life.

Forget the jetpack and the household robot maid, where's the tricorder medical scanner that exactly pinpoints a problem in half a second? Waiting-- and hoping--

(Photos thanks to Diana Wilson)


  1. I had an Akita with low thyroid and the symptoms were really obvious. We kept cutting his food and increasing his exercise but we couldn't get any weight off of him and he was very sluggish, hard to get him to walk. It was beyond what you would expect with normal aging. The drugs worked great, he was a different dog after we started him on them. At the time they weren't that expensive and they had no other side effects. I'm surprised the vet didn't suggest treating her with them and seeing if they help. If not, that would rule out the thyroid. I don't remember my vet saying we had to continue the meds if it wasn't the thyroid but it was a very long time ago. Hope she's feeling better in any case.

    1. Thanks. That gives me a good data point.