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Oh boy Tiffany is suffering from Hypothyroidism!!!!

Hi all it's certainly been a long time since we posted on here but we hope all our friends on ES are doing well.

Tiffany has been to see the vet here in France now several times and just yesterday she was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism..she has been given an initial one weeks supply of "Forthyron" the large amount as she just kept putting on weight and all the vet would say is we are feeding her too much which was not ever the case well in the end he had to agree before carrying out the test which as we knew would come back positive for hypothyroidism...has anyone had any experience of this medication and what else can we do to help our little (or now not so little baby) on the road to recovery...Tiffany as you know is now eight and a bit and inside this large body is a little pup trying to escape...you help and constructive comments will be very happily received...we love you all...Tiffany & Catherine-Marie.xxx  

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 I have never experienced it, I am glad to say, but this link might help:



and this is about the drug:



Hope it helps.


Hi. Yes, I have a great deal of experience of this condition, not just on a personal level, but have had 3 reds with the condition, and it is highly likely that my first two rescues had the condition too knowing what I know now.

Firstly, I do not like Forthyron (Levothyroxin) at all.  My first confirmed cases were originally put on Soloxine and were doing very well, but both went down hill very quickly when the vet changed over to Forthyron.  My current hypoT Setter was originally put on Forthyron, but having changed to a different vet she is now on Soloxine and doing so much better on it.  It took at while to get the dose right, but now we have, she is in really good shape. She has lost the excess kilos, and for a dog coming up 11 in September, she is doing extremely well indeed.

Something else which I found helped her tremendously was putting her on digestive enzymes which are specifically made for dogs. I get them from Evolution Organics in the UK but they are made by Mercola Healthy Pets. I suggest you likewise get Tiffany put onto these, as it will help her absorb her food more effectively which will also support thyroid function.  I also give Tally their mushroom powder for dogs.  This might sound a bit strange giving a dog mushroom powder, but it is not because it contains sulphur, which helps the absorption of vitamin D.  Vitamin D isn't actually a vitamin at all, it is a steroid hormone.

From my experiences of owning hypothyroid Setters, and also from data which I am collecting from other owners, I feel there is an underlying malabsorption (leaky gut) issue in the breed.   Indeed my other red Barkley was very much going in the same direction, but thanks to a particular vet, we identified a slight pancreatic insufficiency.  Since he has been on the digestive enzymes, all his previous symptoms which appeared to be showing he was on the same path as Tally have completely stopped. He is extremely fit, healthy and still acts like a box of frogs and particularly enjoys lure racing.

I also feed my dogs a good quality raw food, to help with their absorption too.  If you are feeding dry food then digestive enzymes are even more essential, as dried food through its very nature, does not contain natural enzymes to help digestion and proper absorption.

I hope this helps.


thank you so much for this info..You mention Soloxine and this you say is better than Forthyron? I just hope our vet here which is quite rural has heard of it, we will suggest it as we need to go back next Friday morning for her first visit since being put on the med yesterday. Also do you have a name for the digestive enzymes?

Anyway thank you so much for your help and advice 

Have a good week ahead

Tiffany & Catherine-Marie

Hi. They are Dr. Mercola Digestive Enzymes for Pets. You should be able to find a supplier in France, or someone in Europe who ships to France.


Your vet should be able to get Soloxine as they are available in most countries. However, some vets have their favourite drug companies whom they deal with so you might be up against that.  I don't know if it works the same there as here, but it maybe possible for your vet to be able to write up a prescription for Soloxine and you can get them from a pharmacy or an online pharmacy if the worst comes to the worst. I really wouldn't want my own dogs to go back to Forthyron, seeing the effect it had on them. Soloxine soooo much better. 

Good luck, and hope it goes well for you and Tiffany :-)

Fran, Tally, Barkley and DaisyMae

Hi Fran. I would be very interested to know a little more about the malabsorption issues and what effects Forthyron had.

My 12 year old Bridie was diagnosed as hypothyroid about 10 months ago and was put on Thyroforon. Her skin and coat improved hugely and she lost weight too. Unfortunately a couple of months later she was diagnosed with suspected stomach cancer on the basis of clinical signs and symptoms, X Ray and Ultra sound. We agreed with the vet that the very intrusive biopsy would not be in her best interests especially as she had pyometra a few months previously and had undergone emergency surgery.

She is now very thin and wasted, and ravenously hungry. However her palliative care regime is controlling all other symptoms and she appears pain free and is quite lively and active. I can't help thinking that perhaps it isn't cancer ( although I saw the calcified deposits, thickening of stomach wall and smoothing of the surface), or that the thyroforon levels aren't correct. Especially as every time she has a blood test review they change the level of the medication.

Apologies to Catherine-Marie for hijacking the discussion. I hope all goes well with Tiffany.

Hi Sue.  I am sorry to hear of what Bridie is suffering. I really don't know if the information on malabsorption will be able to help her now if indeed she does have cancer, but if I found myself in your position I would give it my all, as indeed I did for Tally, who ended up with a number of life threatening conditions and was certainly weeks away from dying when we stumbled on this and pulled her back from the brink, but in her case she had developed laryngeal paralysis and myeopathy, and was rasping, choking, falling off her hind legs and in a terrible state.

I then watched this video:


Just because I recognised a lot of Tally's symptoms over the years here, I just had to get the enzymes.   As I said above I also had Barkley going in the same direction, but then a vet who had him hospitalized discovered he had slight pancreatic insufficiency, so he went straight onto the enzymes too.  Because we caught Barkley at an early stage, we were able to stop things progressing to other conditions, and he is now totally healthy. Had we caught Tally's at an earlier age, maybe the same could have happened to her. However, with regards to Tally, I would say not only did the progression of her illnesses stop, but it reversed too, by approximately 70% !!!!  Every so often she wobbles on her back legs, or stumbles on her front. When the weather is hot you can still hear the stridor from the laryngeal paralysis, and occasionally a rasp and a splutter when she gets stressed. 

There is another angle to this too, and that's the dysbiosis



What I have done here is add a very high dose of probiotic into her food (as well as my own).  I haven't bought any probiotics, as the one's you buy do not contain the really powerful bacteria which are required to boost the immune system. What I do is ferment my own vegetables, cabbage, carrots, broccoli and other seasonal vegetables.  I started off adding a very small amount into their food. About a teaspoonful, and then bit by by started increasing the amounts, once I was convinced there was no die back. That's when the old bad bacteria start fighting back.  If you get die back from probiotic (increase in symptoms) then you are giving too much.   Changing the gut bacteria then boosts the immune system.

If these videos ring any alarms with you, I would certainly be doing these things and as soon as you possibly can.  I started noticing the first minor signs of Tally improving within about 3 days of taking the enzymes.  Her stools started looking normal. She was so poorly that I dare not hope for more, but a week later, she started trying to run again, and then the rest is history. 

I do hope this information helps Bridie.

Fran xx

Hi All,

I am very sorry to hear about all the dogs mentioned here....I have two boys with hypothyroidism...one took a long time ot diagnose although I always knew he had a problem, the vet just ignored me until eventually I insisted on a blood test which proved my point, he has soloxine but is still not right...he is still overweight and suffering with his tummy, he has the laryngeal stridor you speak of Fran and O have some holistic pills which seem to help with that.....my other dog was diagnosed purely because he suddenly became uncharacteristically "aggressive", he was referred to a very well know behaviourist who advised castration..I refused and by good fortune my breeder found out that there was hypothyroidism in the line. I had a full thyroid profile done...the vet's test had come back as normal...and I sent the results off to Dr Jean Dodds who is the expert in Canine Hyperthyroidism...it came back as positive. He has been treated and is now absolutely fine, going to be 8yrs old very soon! They are both having check bloods this pm but again I am having a full panel done for the dog who is not right as he was only diagnosed via the vet's test and I am sending the results off to be analysed. I hope that you get Tiffany on the right treatment and that she is back to her bouncing best soon!!

Hi Christine.  I had dreadful problems getting my guys diagnosed, and like you had to go via Dr. J. D.  Even when the results came back, the vet refused to acknowledge them because "she is not someone we know about, and we trust our own laboratory".  I had to bully this vet into referring us elsewhere, and then after the diagnosis was confirmed, we  switched to another vet who does know about Dr.J.D.  I now have their bloods checked in the UK by Axiom laboratories, who give a more accurate result.  My current vet says she wouldn't hesitate to contact JD if she felt we needed more assistance. It has taken a while to get Tally stabilized, but now she is, she is doing extremely well.

Having worked as a behaviourist, and having my own endocrine issues, I am very cued up on the effects the endocrine system can have on behaviour, therefore had you contacted me, the first thing I would have said is get the thyroid (and one or two other things) checked before you even come and see me lol.   I know how bad tempered I have been when my thyroid wasn't properly treated.  It's not very nice at all, but can affect some people (and animals) differently to others.

If your dog still has the tummy issues, please do look into the enzymes and also getting some pretty powerful probiotics on the go.  I wish I had known the things I know now when Lotte and Nalle were alive.  Things would have been very different for them.  Nalle in particular suffered too long. 8 years in fact before I screamed at the vet "how many more symptoms due to need him to gather before you acknowledge he has a thyroid problem".  He had to go as far having seizures before he was properly diagnosed and treated.  The vet we went to then, is the one we go to now, because she had the guts to learn from it and develop her knowledge in more ways that I could ever have asked for from a vet.  She is a wonderful person who really does put the animals best interests to the forefront.   She has also qualified as a homeopathic vet, and Tally also does well on a 10m dose of phosphorus.

Hi everyone who has been so very kind to reply to our original post.

We also had a great problem getting Tiffany diagnosed the vets here in France are really good in some things, average in some and totally backward in others and unfortunately for us hypothyroidism is one of the latter...we knew there was some underlying problem following Tiffany's hysterectomy a couple of years back when she slowly started to gain weight and all the vet said was you are feeding her to much...not the case she has always been on a very controlled diet but he insisted this was the problem...then the usual hair loss from the tail again we asked why, we were told diet..again and again...unfortunately we never knew anything about hypothyroidism until by chance we met someone from a rescue centre who said that is what Tiffany has so we went to vet and were basically told that we should not tell them their job however Catherine insisted and last week they eventually did a blood test and now we have been put on the medication stated above..we return to the vet on Friday just to see how it's all going and we are going to mention Soloxine and pray that she will allow us to try it and naturally we are going to see if we can get hold of the enzimes you mention Fran..Tiffany is our baby and we feel so let down by the vets here and unfortunately we don't have the luxury of transferring to another practice as this is the only one for hundreds of miles as you all know we live in a very, very rural area of the country so we just have to well armed with information before we go...we all wish your beautiful dogs well and pray they continue to receive the very best treatment, once again we thank each and everyone who has responded especially our dear friend Fran..we love you.  

Oh I do hope your vet will listen to you. It is so frustrating when they start power playing when the animals should be the centre of attention .   Love you too, and hope the vet does her best for Tiffany. Please keep us updated as to how you get on. x

Hi Catherine, this book might help - available via amazon - also kindle edition:

The Canine Thyroid Epidemic by J. Dodds

It is written for laypersons - although it's not easy read it is well understandable and gives you a lot of info, including nutrition, vaccinations an so on in connection with hypothyroidism. As you said, it helps to talk to a vet well informed. If your vet does not want to draw blood, it might be worth to plan a trip (next holiday / prolonged weekend) to one that does. Have a look at the links above that Susan / Finding Beau posted and do not hesitate to write to Hemopet. You can send the blood sample yourself, make sure it is drawn at the right time (a few hours after medication, I think / all written in the links), settled for half an hour and centrifuged. Take the forms and the prepared parcel with you and make sure you have all you need for US customs (for sending animal blood) and send via Federal Express or something alike. I hope this helps. Wishing you and Tiffany all the best, C & J

I just noticed that the links have been deleted - here one of them is again:


Do not hesitate to write to hemopet@hotmail.com for further help (also about international shipping) and make sure you include this: US Customs clearance requires a letter specifying that the "sample is from a dog or cat for diagnostic purposes only, and is non-infectious." Do ask hemopet about the form that tells you, how much blood needs to be taken and how to send it - it was all in the above links - hopefully, Susan does post them again.




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