There have been many articles and textbook chapters written on the topic of hypothyroidism. Maybe too many because when that happens, some 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 a weakened and overwhelmed immune system to turn on its own tissue - in this case, the thyroid gland.
While the factors mentioned above definitely play an important role there is another serious cause. Trauma to the thyroid gland caused by collars.
The thyroid gland is located at the front portion of the throat right in front of the Adam’s apple (anatomically the laryngeal cartilages) which makes it very prone to injuries by dog collars.
The harder the pressure of the collar on the thyroid gland and the stronger the dog is, the greater the risk of thyroid injury.
When the thyroid gland is injured, inflammation follows which triggers the immune system to produce antibodies to the inflamed tissue of the thyroid gland. These antibodies attack and the immune system removes thyroid gland cells which results in lack of production of thyroid hormone.
Why larger dogs are more likely to be hypothyroid
It is common knowledge that larger dogs such as Labs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermans and Rottweilers are predisposed to hypothyroidism. These dogs are also stronger pullers than smaller breeds and their collars can cause more serious damage.
How can you prevent thyroid trauma?
- Use the Healthy Dog Tool to put your dog on the optimal diet and supplements based on their health and age.
- Use the Perfect Fit Harness and Gente Leash to minimize the risk of thyroid gland trauma.
- Get rid of retractable leashes because their 'break and stop' system creates intense jerks that cause additional trauma.