There have been many articles and textbook chapters written on the topic of hypothyroidism. Maybe too many because when that happens, many people jump to preconceived ideas about the disease causes and miss some of the simple and very obvious ones.
One cause of hypothyroidism that is often missed
Most people believe that large breeds are more commonly affected by hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone production) mainly because of genetics. Others point to poor quality processed food or vaccines which cause the weakened and overwhelmed immune system to turn onto its own tissue - in this case the thyroid gland.
I agree that all the above factors play a role but there is another much more serious cause. Trauma to the thyroid gland caused by collars. The problem is that the thyroid gland is located at the front portion of the throat right in front of the Adam’s apple ( anatomically the laryngeal cartilages). This makes it very prone to injuries by dog collars.
I have written numerous articles on the damage that collars cause especially when it comes to the alignment of the cervical spine and energy, nerve and blood flow through the area.
However, when it comes to the thyroid gland, the source of the problem is even more trivial - the pressure of the collar on the thyroid gland. The harsher and more restrictive the collar is and the stronger the dog is, the greater the trauma. Such injuries lead to inflammation which triggers the immune system to produce antibodies against the repeatedly injured and inflamed thyroid gland. The result is destruction of the thyroid gland and hypothyroidism - lack of production of thyroid hormone.
Why this makes sense?
If this cause seems to be too trivial of an explanation, look at dogs predisposed to hypothyroidism. They are mostly large and strong breeds such as Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers they often pull and wear restrictive choke chain and martingale collars. However, even regular collars can cause serious damage.
Three key points to preventing thyroid trauma
- First, it is important to reduce the effect of other contributing factors by reducing vaccination, feed a proper natural diet, detox your dog regularly and give essential supplements.
- It is also crucial to prevent your dog from pulling like a draft horse and ideally use a front-clip harness to minimize the thyroid gland trauma.
- Get rid of retractable leashes because the break and stop system create intense jerks that cause additional trauma,
- Use a shock-absorbing leash to preserve your dog's health and prevent your own shoulder injuries if your dog is a puller.
Wishing you and your dog many healthy thyroid days!