This is another tricky element of this disease, it is not always easy to read test results correctly and there can be a lot of misinterpretation. There are 2 main reasons for this:
1) Other health conditions can cause low thyroid levels. This includes: fever (related to numerous conditions) and diabetes.
2) The symptoms of this are also signs of other conditions. This includes: Allergies (which can cause hair loss) or skin infection.
It is important to note 2 important elements in regard to testing:
Blood tests can detect this disease before any symptoms appear, which is promising
If a test is negative, this does not clear the dog for life. Within 2 years, it can develop - for this reason, if an owner is encouraged to have their Boxer tested every year for the first 4 years of life, and then, if still negative, testing can be spaced apart every 2 years.
Normal Thyroid Levels for the Boxer Dog:
Blood work will test the level of T4. Normal levels for this breed are between 1 to 4.
Blood work will test the level of TSH. The normal level is .6. If the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroxin (the active thyroid hormone), the levels of TSH will be higher than normal.
Via a blood panel, there will be 4 tests done:
- T4 - This determines the total thyroxine level
- TSH - This detects if there is the presence of a naturally occurring thyroid stimulating hormone, a substance that stimulates the thyroid to produce more T3 and T4.
- FT4 (Free T4) - This will check the amount of usable T4 in the bloodstream.
- TgAA - Checks the level of antibodies
Thankfully, this is treatable. Your Boxer dog’s veterinarian should prescribe hormone replacement medication. In most cases, a dog will need this medication for the rest of his or her life.
Once a dog is given this treatment, they must be monitored often to make sure that they are receiving the proper dose.
This medication usually works quite well. A Boxer should show signs of increased energy in as little as 2 weeks. If a dog had the symptom of fur loss, within 4 to 6 months most, if not all, of the fur will grow back. All other symptoms should clear up in about 2 months.