Archive for aggression

February 9 th


Low Thyroid Kills Dogs!

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I cannot believe we got another email from someone wanting us to take a fearful dog  today.

They have seen vets, trainers and called even one famous animal sanctuary who referred them to us!  Well, that sanctuary takes in ~ 34 million dollars a year, so I was a bit shocked, but I am glad they did, because now this dog owner has the info which may save their dog’s life and allow her to stay with her family.

Here is a Facebook note I wrote a long time ago and share often:


I am talking until I am blue in the face. Low thyroid causes >60% of aggression and > 40% of fearfulness in dogs, yet NO ONE MENTIONS IT!  I see thread after thread on Fb with people discussing behavioral problems with impounded dogs and no one mentions thyroid testing. Most dogs are abandoned because of behavior. MANY ARE ILL, not badly behaved.


My sanctuary got a call from a gal in tears because her rescued dog has gotten progressively more aggressive over time. She has been to vets, she called rescues and sanctuaries trying to place him. NO ONE ASKED ABOUT THE DOG’S HEALTH. I did. He also has skin allergies and digestive problems.




She is now going to have Hemopet ( do a thyroid panel and I am very sure they will discover thyroid disease. A pill twice a day will probably “cure” all his problems and save him from being put to sleep.


Please, get educated and SHARE THE INFO. Please read Dr. Jean Dodds’ new book- The Canine Thyroid Epidemic


Other symptoms:

Clinical Signs of Canine Hypothyroidism


Alterations in Cellular Metabolism

weakness / stiffness / laryngeal paralysis / facial paralysis / tragic expression / knuckling or dragging feet / muscle wasting / megaesophagus / head tilt / drooping eyelids


Neuromuscular Problems

seizures / mental dullness / exercise intolerance / neurologic signs / polyneuropathy / lethargy / weight gain / cold intolerance / mood swings hyperexcitability / stunted growth / chronic infections


Dermatologic Diseases

dry, scaly skin and dandruff / coarse, dull coat / bilateral symmetrical hair loss / rat tail, puppy coat / hyperpigmentation / seborrhea or greasy skin / pyoderma or skin infections / myxedema / chronic offensive skin odor


Reproductive Disorders

infertility of either sex / lack of libido / testicular atrophy / hypospermia aspermia / prolonged interestrus interval / absence of heat cycles / silent heats / pseudopregnancy / weak, dying or stillborn pups


Cardiac Abnormalities

slow heart rate (bradycardia) / cardiac arrhythmias / cardiomyopathys


Gastrointestinal Disorders

constipation / diarrhea / vomiting


Hematological Disorders

bleeding / bone marrow failure / low red blood cells / low white blood cells / low platelets


Ocular Diseases

corneal lipid deposits / corneal ulceration / uveitis Keratococonjunctivitis / sicca or dry eye / infections of eyelid glands (Meibomian gland)


Other Associated Disorders

lgA deficiency / loss of smell (dysosmia) / loss of taste / glycosuria / chronic active hepatitis / other endocrinopathies adrenal, pancreatic, parathyroid

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September 8 th


Animal trainers and other possible control-freaks

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First of all, I call myself a “recovering control freak”. I had to become so desperately ill & disabled that I finally learned to “let go” of trying to micro-manage the planet.

Despite having absolutely no spare time and barely time to sleep, I joined a Linkedin Pet Lovers group and am getting a zillion email notifications with all the new posts. One man had a question about his middle aged husky who was becoming more and more food aggressive. I suggested he first have a full thyroid panel done, as >60% of aggressive dogs are actually low thyroid and thyroxine will often “fix” the behavior almost overnight….Well, along comes a dog trainer to tell him blood work is not needed. She then goes into a long dissertation on training.

This has become my pet peeve- trainers and behavior “experts” in the animal world who refuse to recognize that a lot of  “bad behavior” has a physical origin. I know people who have paid dog trainers thousands of dollars to try to fix SICK animals. There is no training solution to low thyroid and other illness-caused behavioral issues. The same goes for horses. If a horse has sore,diseased or imbalanced feet or back, neck, joint or tooth pain – he is not going to perform well!

Please take the advice of vets and holistic animal care experts and rule out health problems before resorting to professional training.

So, this leads me to conclude that, perhaps, people who are a bit control-freakish maybe are attracted to jobs as trainers. A desire to “run the show” might make them  resistant to other ideas….Of course, there are exceptions, such as our friend and dog trainer, Maryanne, who regularly uses Hemopet to do thyroid panels on dogs she rescues and works with. She is the gal who rescued Carson out of the pound for us  and, yes, he was aggressive and very low thyroid.

Carson May 2010 and January 2011

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January 5 th


Low thyroid, aggression and seizures

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I am on my bandwagon again. I received a plea a week ago from someone with an adolescent dog with seizures and unexplained aggression. I urged them to send blood to Hemopet. Low thyroid often causes both aggression and seizures. They went to their vet who said it was “severe, idiopathic epilepsy”. He said it was probably untreatable, BUT, would not euthanize the dog because it was too young. I am hearing this right? He did not want to do a thyroid panel. I am told.

Well, IDIOPATHIC (sounds like “idiot”, right?) means “no known cause”. If you don’t test, you will not find the cause!!!!

This poor dog was then dumped at a high-kill Los Angeles shelter. He will probably be terrified for a few days,then killed.

PLEASE take control and be responsible for your animals. They are totally dependent on us to DO THE MORAL THING. Take care of them. Do not abandon them, please…

Range of behavior problems
Dr. Dodds and other veterinarians and researchers have been linking changes in behavior to hypothyroidism for more than a dozen years. The various types of abnormal behavior can be grouped into three categories: aggression, extreme shyness, or seizure-like activity.

The cases involving aggression are often similar to Hannibal’s. A previously even-tempered animal lashes out at another animal or human without any warning. One such dog under the care of Dr. Dodds was successfully participating in performance events. One day the dog’s behavior changed radically and he “would go berserk” every time he saw people he didn’t know. Soon he was banned from the training facility because his aggressive behavior had escalated to dangerous levels. Sadly, it’s not unusual for dogs with untreated hypothyroidism to become so aggressive that their owners are no longer able to manage them.

On the other end of the behavioral spectrum are the dogs that become very shy and fearful due to hypothyroidism. While not a threat to humans, extreme manifestations of this kind of behavior still render the dog difficult, if not impossible to keep as a family pet. In addition, these animals are unlikely to be able to continue any activities such as obedience, showing, or working.

The final type of behavioral aberrations seen with hypothyroidism is sudden onset of seizure activity. According to Dr. Dodds, these dogs “appear perfectly healthy outwardly, have normal hair coats and energy, but suddenly have a seizure for no apparent reason.” The seizures may be infrequent, and may include aggressive behavior immediately before or after the seizures.

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