View Full Version : Hypothyroidism linked to Behavior Problems

Cathy Moon
9th December 2006, 01:18 AM
There's an interesting article in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of The Bark magazine:

Treating Behavior Problems - Thyroid study seek participants.

Canine behavioral problems are believed by some authorities to be associated with hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels). For example, in a study involving 1,500 dogs with behavior problems, 62 percent of them had low or low-normal thyroid function. Thyroid hormones are involved in regulating levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, most notably serotonin, which is associated with mood, attention, emotion and sleep. In addition, hypothyroid animals have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which mimics a stress-like state.

Psychiatrists have noted a link between aggression and hypothyroidism in humans since the 1840s, and thyroid hormone replacement therapy has been used in psychiatric medicine for many years. More recently, Drs. Nicholas Dodman and Linda Aronson of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (TCSVM), with the diagnostic help of Dr. Jean Dodds (Hemopet/Hemolife Laboratories), began treating dogs with behavior problems for low (or borderline-low) thyroid levels and noting an improvement in a variety of behavior problems, including aggression.

While case studies are helpful to point the way, more conclusive evidence in the form of placebo-controlled, double-blinded studies is needed to demonstrate the therapeutic value of thyroid replacement therapy in the treatment of canine behavior problems. To address this need, TCSVM researchers are currently enrolling dogs who exhibit owner-directed aggression and also have low or borderline-low thyroid levels in an eight-week clinical trial.

If you have a dog that growls, lifts a lip, snaps at or otherwise “bites the hand that feeds,” please contact Ms. Nicole Cottam, TCSVM’s animal behavior service coordinator, at 508.887.4802 (nicole.cottam@tufts.edu) for more information about enrolling your dog. Behaviorally qualified dogs will receive a free thyroid test, and you will be given free behavior modification advice. A visit to TCSVM is not necessary if your local veterinarian is involved; however, if your dog is assigned to the placebo group, treatment will not begin for eight weeks.

- The Bark Magazine

9th December 2006, 07:25 AM
that's really interesting. i wonder if there are other kinds of behavior problems, other than aggression, suspected of being related to low thyroid levels, such as excessive barking or chewing.

Cathy Moon
9th December 2006, 02:34 PM
I'm wondering the same thing.

Geordie is not aggressive towards us, but he is very reactive to strangers, etc. He barks when he sees any living thing out the window. :? India and Chocolate enjoy seeing people and animals, and they never bark.

All along I've been thinking its his temperament, but just on the off chance it might be thyroid, and curable, I'm going to have him tested as soon as possible.

9th December 2006, 03:45 PM
wow that's an interesting article cathy.. .. It's amazing how many things that dogs can have are so similar to humans

9th December 2006, 08:42 PM
this is one of Jean Dodds's specialties.


Cathy Moon
9th December 2006, 10:42 PM
Thanks so much for this information! I am going to print this out and take it to the vets with me! :thnku:

That's true Sara, it really is amazing! :)