“The Canine Thyroid Epidemic”

By Dr. W. Jean Dodds and Diana R. Laverdure. Dogwise Publishing. $19.95.

While the complexity of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) often baffles even veterinarians, Dodds masterfully details this important subject in a clear, crisp manner the reader can grasp.

Part self-help, part motivational, this just might be one of the most important dog-oriented resources you’ll ever pick up, and in the process could be a lifesaver for that special pooch in your home.  

In the Introduction, Dodds emphasizes, “Most dog guardians do not know how to spot the clinical symptoms of thyroid disease in their four-legged friends, and many veterinarians are unaware of how to properly test and diagnose their patients to determine if they suffer from a thyroid disorder.

“Unfortunately, this confusion . . . sets up a ‘perfect storm’ of misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and mistreatment (or often lack of treatment) of canine thyroid disorder.”

Dodds’ objective here is to unlock this “mystery” and encourage the owner to become more proactive and knowledgeable in his/her animal’s health care and in the process assist the practitioner in making both a correct diagnosis and treatment protocol for each thyroid patient.

For instance, did you know that the thyroid, the trigger mechanism for a wide assortment of bodily havoc associated with this epidemic, is located in the upper third of the neck, is shaped like a butterfly or bow tie and is only the size of a lima bean. That’s one powerful bean, isn’t it?

Dodds explains that the thyroid gland regulates metabolism of all of the body’s cellular function, and because reduced function can generate a wide array of clinical signs, misdiagnosis is highly common.

In-breeding and line breeding, she contends, has greatly perpetuated the disorder in some breeds, noting the English setter boasts the highest incidence while listing the top 25 breeds affected.

Dodds cautions both owner and veterinarian not to fall into the trap of solely attributing a dog’s sudden behavioral changes to psychological issues. Explore, she urges, all possible medical causes with a complete thyroid antibody profile, additional laboratory workup and wide-ranging clinical evaluation.

Each powerful chapter, some accented with case profiles, concludes with basic summary of take-home points.

Chapters include: How Do I Know if My Dog Has a Thyroid Disorder?; Is My Dog at Risk?; Diagnostic Testing and Interpretation; How to Effectively Manage Your Dog’s Thyroid Disease; Proactive Care for a Healthy Canine.

This razor-sharp analysis is both soberly reflective while always fair-minded. In the process, it reflects a tough realism that should serve as a healthy wake-up call across a dog-owning public without boundaries.