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Mike McIntyre
Mike McIntyre,
Category: Vet
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Experience:  Veterinarian at Sioux Nation Pet Clinic
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I have two cocker spaniels, brother and sister, they are now

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I have two cocker spaniels, brother and sister, they are now 11 years old.My male dog Jethro, suddenly put on a lot of weight, I noticed it in February, I tried cutting his food down, but nothing worked. I then went to our local vet, they examined him, then suggested that they run some tests, the results were that he was borderline thyroid. The vet suggested some diet food, which I purchased and we tried him on that for a few weeks. We then had him weighed again and he had only lost 0.1 kg, his sister who wasn’t on @ diet lost 1.2 kg. The vet said to keep him on the diet food which was 80g twice a day, but reduce it to 60 g, which I did. It was also suggested that we took him for hydrotherapy, we have also done this next week will be his 10th session. He has had further blood test, but the vet said they were normal and when I asked what is wrong with him, he just said he was fat. Since March, we have only managed to get 1.5 kilos off of him. He still looks overweight. The vet suggested dropping him down to 40g twice a day, which I am not really happy to do, as what I currently feed him does not seem to satisfy him. He now scrounges for food the whole time, he has even taken to eating bird seed that the birds drop, which he has never done before. I am really worried about my dog, have you any ideas
Hello. This is Dr Mike. I have been practicing for 19 years and I will be happy to help you today with all of your questions. First I would like to start with a few questions to help me better understand your case.
Did they ever address the borderline low thyroid any more ? Have we noticed and change in poorer hair and skin health ? Any weakness to the back end or less active ?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
They did other blood tests for the thyroid, he said one was positive, but it was a false positive, the other one was negative, the third one was normal. I don’t think there are any changes in his skin or hair. He has slowed down a bit, but I don’t know if that’s to do with his age. He just seems miserable .
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Are you still there?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hello have you any response for me
My apologies. I am back here now sorry about that
In a case like this. If the thyroid is in the low normal range. We have tests that may it may not show low thyroid. We have a case that is no matter what not losing weight no matter how much we cut the ration down. Hypothyroid is a concern.
There is a wide range for the bodies normal thyroid level. This is why in cases like this we have to interpret the levels of the thyroid, what the range of normal is and where we fall on that scale. We also need to take into account the slower metabolism we are going to see. Would it be possible for you to get a copy of the bloodwork we could review?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I would need to contact my vet, but it will take a few days

That is quite alright, we can leave this question open for days. I want to make sure that we are getting the underlying issue addressed. If you literally are cutting the food into half and we are barely losing weight, this also strongly looks that there is an underlying condition. Also this is going to cause stress to your little one that we are so much trying to get any piece of food possible.

What does he weigh in relation to what his sister weighs?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
on 24.04.18 - Abby weighed 16.400, a year later she was down to15.600, her last weigh in was 24.08.19 and she was 15.100. In April 2018, Jethro weighed 18.000, in March 2019, he went up to 21.100, he now weighs 19.600 .

Despite having his daily ration reduced to less than her, his weight has still remained higher

IF you can describe a little more what you mean by he just seems miserable?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It just doesn’t look his usual self, it like you look at him and he is saying why are you starving me, what have I done wrong.
I understand. Also if the thyroid level is a bit low. They will also many times have a slight change in personality. Maybe a little more depressed. Do you ever notice any increase in drinking or panting ?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He maybe drank more initially but not especially now , haven’t really noticed him panting a lot. Oh I forgot to say earlier that they are both taken out for an hour and half walk four/ five times a week

that is all very good what you are doing. What type of food are you feeding now?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I can’t remember the name as we put it in a container from the bag but it was recommended by the vet x

I would say that we will need to wait and see the results of the thyroid tests then if you will be able to get those forwarded to me for my review next week. Will that work for you?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I have rung them and they are going to email them over, how do I send them to you?
Send them to this address. Then ask that they forward to Dr Mike. Also please write to me here when you send them. I will then know to look for them then
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok will do x
Thank you for your patience as we work our way through your case
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you x
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Laboratory Results for Jethro
Please find below a copy of the results as requested.27/03/19 MICROBIOLOGY
Urine Analysis
Urine protein 0.19 mg/dl
Urine Creatinine 6.51 mmol/L
Urine protein:creatinine 0.29 (0.0 -1.0 )
Urine Colour Yellow
Urine Clarity Cloudy
Specific gravity 1.018
pH 9
Protein * Trace
Glucose Negative
Ketones Negative
Urobilinogen Negative
Bilirubin Negative
Haemoglobin Negative
Urine sediment
RBCs <5 /hpf
WBCs <3 /hpf
Epithelial None seen
Bacteria None seen
Crystals * +++ Triple phosphate
Casts None seen
Urine culture No growth13/08/19
cTotal T4 * 11 nmol/L Low (15.0 -50 )
cTSH 0.09 ng/ml (0.0 -0.6 )CLINICAL COMMENTS
AntithyroglobulinWhen therapy is administered once daily, T4 levels should fall on the upper
to slightly above the reference interval (e.g. 50-70) at 4-6 hours post pill.
When admininstered twice daily, T4 levels should be approximately 19 nmol/L
at trough values (just prior to treatment), and should be in the high normal
range, approximately 30-47 nmol/L at peak values (3 hours post treatment).Daisy Jones BA(Hons) BVMedSci(Hons) MRes BVM BVS(Hons) MRCVS
SYNLAB VPG Exeter Resident in Clinical Pathology15/08/19
FT4 9.7 pmol/L (6.6 -40.0 )
cTotal T4 * 11 nmol/L Low (15.0 -50 )
cTSH 0.09 ng/ml (0.0 -0.6 )
Antithyroglobulin antibo 0.01 % <10 normal >25 positive
ATA Interpretation NegativeThese are what I had sent throughRegardsPat Alford

Good afternoon. Thank you for sending these to me, I will review now and reply shortly

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you

The Total T4 came out on the low end. This is more diagnostic than the free T4 which can be correlative with the low thyroid. Along with the weight gain despite all of the diet restrictions you are doing. When you read on the above information that when on thyroid supplement the thyroid level should be higher. Also when you look at the normal range for the total T4 levels, it is apparent that we are near the lowest level of detection at 11 when normal level is 15-50 nmol/L. I will be happy to discuss this further with you also. Let me know. I feel if the thyroid level could be increased to even 20 or 30 nmol/L a significant increase to weight loss and activity will be seen.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Potentially what you have said is that Jethro could benefit from going on thyroid tablets, is that correct.

In cases like this I have had great success in getting the thyroid level increased. When we start on a thyroid supplement we then recheck the blood level in 4-8 weeks, also look at how the clinical signs have responded. If we are clinically doing better when we are on the supplement and the laboratory tests support that we are in the range we want to be, not too low or too high, then we have a good plan forward.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you, ***** ***** I need to talk to our vet x

I think that would be a very good idea and will help to decrease any level of anxiety at home with cutting back on the food levels and the food searching. Any other questions I can answer for you now?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Can you tell me if a thyroid supplement is the same as putting Jethro on Thyroid tablets ?
The thyroid tablets/supplemental is called levothyroxine
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you x
Any other questions I can answer for you ? If you need additional help in the future you can request the expert you want. I will be happy to help in the future of you have more questions. Let me know. Have a good day. Dr Mike
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If Jethro goes on the tablets will he have to stay on them for the rest of his life?

The tablets will supplement for what the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone potentially, if you stop giving the supplement, then we will return to the previous state again

The tablets will supplement for what the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone potentially, if you stop giving the supplement, then we will return to the previous state again

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you
How are things going today ?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
All good, we have spoken to our vet and told him we weren’t happy, he has agreed to put Jethro on some tablets, so time will tell if this has been the problem .
Thank you for keeping me updated. When you get the medication would it be possible to let me know what dosage also ?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He has given us Thyforon 200 UG, one tablet every 12 hours with food ; we have a months supply. We are not sure how much food to give him.

He weighs approximately 18 kg now?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
No 19.6 kg

His full dose would be approximately 0.7 mg total dose once a day, if we are only doing 0.4 mg total dose once a day, I just wanted to let you know we may not see the benefits that we are desiring. Standard base dose is 0.1 mg/4.5 kg twice a day. In the event we do not see the desired weight loss and effects that we desire, I wanted to let you know about this dosing level. Please keep me updated about how things progress.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok thank you, ***** ***** are saying is that the dosage that Jethro has been given is quite low. In respect of what we should be feeding him, what do you suggest?

His total dosage to start with standard dosage would be 0.7 mg (or 700 micrograms, you are using now 400 micrograms) total dosage once a day. This is about a half dosage, in the end the attending veterinarian makes and gives the prescription. I just wanted to discuss dosages with you here. If you look at any online site for starting doses for levothyroxine in Western Countries you will see that. In South America they use the lower dosage as above, do not have as good of response to therapy, and in South America clinicians are now looking to the dosages used in USA. I do hope this answers your question for you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I also asked how much food I should be feeding Jethro?
We also will want to keep him on a more limited ration. What amount are you feeding him? How much are you feeding her ?
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
He was down to 60g twice a day, Abby has more but tends to leave some when she’s had enough, as did Jethro in the past, but personally I don’t think he has had enough as before all this started, he too used to leave food. I wouldn’t be happy to give him any less.

If we get his metabolism sped up with the levothyroxine, then we can look to be able to lose weight and start to feed more. Perhaps starting with the levothyroxine we can go back to 65 or 70 mg, slowly increase it so we are not so food starved all of the time. Then as we recheck the thyroid level in 1-2 months, see how we are doing with that level and weight loss, we will be able to adjust it upward in time and have a much happier quality of life.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
That sounds like a plan, thank you.

You are more than welcome. Best of success on all of this, Have a good evening. Dr Mike

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