Raw Diet and Hyperthyroidism in Dogs

Recently one of my foster dogs had a thyroid blood test which indicated she was very slightly hyperthyroid.  Knowing she was being fed a raw diet, the veterinarian suggested diet may be the cause.  This experience has demonstrated to me the importance of getting all of the facts before making a decision.

Hyperthyroidism is very rare in dogs and can be an indication of a thyroid tumor.  The condition has also been linked to dogs fed raw animal necks.  The necks usually have small amounts of thyroid tissue attached, which is ingested and then affects the dogs’ thyroid hormone level.  So the potential link between the raw diet and hyperthyroidism stated by the vet was valid.  However, because I am aware of the issue I feed raw necks conservatively and this dog had not been fed any in the three months of living in my home.

Twenty years of raw feeding and seeing the positive results has given me a comfort level that my dogs are receiving a healthy diet.  But when I first began I was very hesitant.  I read as many horror stories as I did accolades and had many starts and stops.  At that time if I had been told the diet I was feeding contributed to a thyroid condition I may have returned to processed food for fear of doing harm.  But today I listen to many views, read voraciously,  and research.  All of this information is evaluated and if I choose to make a change to my dogs’ diet it is based on sound evidence and not from one isolated bit of information.

An internet search of raw dog diets will give you an overwhelming amount of information and disinformation.  My advice is to talk to a holistic veterinarian with a nutritional background.  Have a complete blood panel done before you begin the new diet to rule out any underlying medical conditions and to give you a base line.  Then have annual blood tests done to identify possible inadequacies in the diet.  If you are uncomfortable feeding raw meat or if a member of your household has a compromised immune system, don’t do it.  A cooked meal is a much better option than processed food and your holistic vet can help you choose ingredients for a balanced diet.



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