New research reveals the dog breeds at most risk of hypothyroidism
The Royal Veterinary College has published a new study exploring the frequency and risk factors for hypothyroidism in dogs in the UK.
For the study, researchers from the RVC’s VetCompass Programme identified 2,105 hypothyroidism cases diagnosed amongst a study population of 905,553 UK dogs.
This revealed an annual frequency of one case in 400 dogs (0.23%) for the condition, with the most common breeds diagnosed being Standard Doberman Pinschers (x 17.02), Tibetan Terriers (x11.25), Boxers (x10.44) and Alaskan Malamutes (x 9.71).
The average age at first diagnosis was 7.65 years.
Other findings included:
- The most protected breeds were French Bulldog (0.27), Pug (x 0.29), Yorkshire Terrier (x 0.38), Shih-tzu (x 0.38) and Jack Russell Terrier (x 0.40).
- Two breeds had no recorded cases of hypothyroidism – Cavachon and Cavapoo.
- The risk of having hypothyroidism rose as dogs aged, with dogs aged 11-13 years at 4.54 times the risk of hypothyroidism compared with dogs aged 5-7 years.
- The risk of hypothyroidism increased as adult bodyweight increased.
- Neutered females and neutered males were more likely to be diagnosed than entire females.
- Breeds with long skull (dolichocephalic x1.35) or short skull (brachycephalic x 1.15) conformation had higher risk of hypothyroidism compared to dogs with medium length (mesocephalic) skull conformation.
Dr Rebecca Geddes, Lecturer in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the RVC Queen Mother Hospital for Animals and last author of the paper, said: “It is great to have this data from UK primary care practices, which will help highlight high risk breeds to veterinary surgeons so they can diagnose and treat affected dogs as early as possible. Hypothyroidism is usually straightforward to manage with medication that can greatly improve quality of life in affected dogs.”