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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is becoming more and more a problem with Samson and less and less predictable.

He always seems to be somewhat unsure before it happens, but the problem is, he is "somewhat unsure" a LOT, and it never leads to bite/near-bite incidents. He had a bite incident recently, luckily, it wasn't TOO bad. Afterward he always acts like nothing has happened and is completely friendly/normal around people. It is like a non-convulsive seizure almost; I'm not entirely sure he's 100% conscious during these incidents. They seem to happen every couple of months or so. Not terribly often, and it is manageable. He's only gotten nasty with me once, and didn't try to bite or anything. I pretty much am the only person who can be around him for any length of time safely.

It has gotten to the point where he is so unpredictable I flat out cannot bring him anywhere with me anymore. Even my family (whom I am currently living with) I only allow around him for short bits of time so that his "excited" behavior is predominant around them.

My question is, this behavior, as well as some other things I am noticing about him, seem to match up with behaviors I am reading about in papers by Dr. Jean Dodds about low-normal thyroid. He's had his thyroid tested three times - the first time was very close to being borderline low, the second was BARELY any better, and the third was...well, I'm wondering if it was an outlier. It was still low, but by itself I wouldn't think anything of it. The other two tests, yeah.

Anyway, I have tried talking to THREE separate veterinary offices about this problem and have always just been summarily dismissed. They won't look at any of the literature I have printed off, they just...dismiss it out of hand, like it isn't even a remote possibility. I am so sick of dealing with this, and I am at my wits end.

So, yeah, the question: I managed to acquire some soloxine, in .5mg tablets. Samson is an 85lb dog. I am thinking that to treat low-normal levels, I would want to give half a pill a day.

Is there anyone on here more familiar with veterinary medication that might be able to give me better advice on this? Or maybe even a "this is a horrible idea" (if it is?).

I don't KNOW that this is the issue, but there is some evidence to suggest that it is, and nobody seems interested in actually finding it out (because they don't have to deal with it...). I have to get pushy just to get them to run tests!

Thanks for any help you can offer.

The only other thing I think it can be is "sudden rage syndrome" (cocker rage) and given his ancestry (malamute & GSD are in there) it is possible, albeit rare. But if it is that, treatment options are pretty much a shot in the dark, if I can even get a vet to agree that "cocker rage" IS the problem. That alone may take months.
 

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anubis star here on the forum is a vet tech and may be able to give you some insite on the dosage etc.

I 'think' with sudden rage syndrome he wouldn't snap out of it so fast.

I"m not knowledgeable enough to be able to comment on whether it could be a thyroid issue.

Maybe it's just the way he's wired? I saw pics of the bite, if it is who I think it is, and that was a pretty nasty bite:(

Hope you can figure out if it's medical or not, it's tough when you have unpredictability in a dog.
 

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Where did you have the thyroid test done? If through Dr. Dodds, you can ask her. If not, you can still email her (I think it's rude but better rude than hurting the dog).

Messing with thyroid meds can be really, really bad. I know people who have gotten really sick when a different brand was given to them - their dosage, just different formulation. I know myself I took a whole pill instead of half by just popping without thinking and it was an awful day for me. My heart was not happy!

If it's neuro, best to see a neuro for a consult. You don't have to ask, you tell, nicely and with a smile. If you have pictures to show of things (guessing from Diane's post) show them.
 

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I am managing/treating quite a few low thyroid cases and not one single one of them have aggression of any sort actually, except my moms dog who lived her first 6 months pretty much feral and can be fear aggressive with men which has not changed not one bit while being on Soloxine (levothyroxine). I think the whole aggression thing related to hypothyroidism is blown way out of proportion. I will not get into an argument with anyone over that either because i am speaking from actual experience in being a vet working at a very high volume clinic (i see anywhere from 30-50+ patients a day), and until you've actually been in the trenches, well its just not comparable to any amount of rescue work, etc., which I have also done quite a bit of. I would not treat your dog for low thyroid without other clinical signs either if I was your vet based on a low normal reading. I had one dog so far that was very clinical for the disease and was I think 0.1 within the normal range so I am treating that dog because she had multiple clinical signs. The dosing you are wanting to use is not appropriate and I certainly wouldn't be treating your dog on your own, those drugs can be very dangerous. I recommend getting a consult with a veterinary behaviorist and if they believe the thyroid is contributing then they can help you treat for that, but I don't think it is.
 

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Low thyroid can cause issues, including aggression. However, please do not just dose your dog by yourself. This can cause major medical issues. Once you start giving your dog or even yourself thyroid meds, your thyroid will eventurally quit making its own and your bod will then rely on the meds, which of course becomes lifetime. If indeed thyroid is low, or low normal, then low doses may help, but bloodwork needs to be done and monitered to make sure the correct dosage is given. Too much thyroid is just as much a medical mess as too low.
Where were the tests sent to? Some vet clinics will do their own thyroid testing, but we have always relied on Michigan university for testing dog thyroid. I do know you can also test with Dr Dodds. Those results from these two places will be totally reliable and not "inhouse" results.
 

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1) People who know little about thyroid aggression should not give advice about it. It's very real, and there is a high correlation with thyroid dysfunction and aggression towards humans.

2) Thyroid treatment requires regular testing and dosage adjutment. Even if it helps (it might not), if you walk into a vet office and haven't built a relationship with a vet, they are going to think you are a kook and you will not get the help that samson needs. Additionally, you may mess up any "pre" tests that a vet may want to run.

3) You need to see a veterinary behaviourist that knows how to prescribe drugs for behaviour problems, including things like anti-depressants, etc. This is a special kind of vet, found at specialty clinics or univerities. There's a lot of wrong stuff being taught at the universities about thyroid, so I might tend to look at someone that ha been doing this a long while.

4) You really need to evaluate everything, including his food, and what type of behaviours he's exposed to at home.
 

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Kevin, if you want a cheap test, try some St. John's Wort. One capsule twice a day, just the regular Nature's Way tuff (I think that's the name - it will come up on a google). But, it will interact with other meds, so you have to google anything he is currently on or might be on.

May take up to two weeks to work.

That will help you determine if pharmaceutical intervention might help.

And start reading all the aggresion info by Nicholas Dodman.
 

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I'm sure you've seen this article, but just in case you haven't:

Sirius Dog

Have you tried getting one of the vets to read that? It's pretty interesting!
Another thing you might want to investigate is selenium, and it's role on the thyroid. BTW, I'm not a vet or a nutritionist...just a curious person who likes to google. I wish you the best of luck in finding out what's wrong.
 

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I don't know if the sudden rage is a malamute trait or not. Most of the owners of the Malamutes I've met are not comfortable with their dogs doing a meet and greet with our GSD. They've all described them to be unpredictable, partially because they said the dogs are so quiet and they can't read their body language.

Our previous dog had low thyroid from an early age. She was not aggressive but I do remember reading that it could cause aggression. I would not give thyroid on your own. If you do, you need to know that you will need to take your dog in for blood tests to check the medication level, and you need to do this within a certain time frame after taking the medication. There are other signs of low thyroid, rat tail - your dog looses hair on its tail, weight gain, exercise intolerance, cannot regulate heat/cold well, does you dog display other signs of low thyroid?

Can you go back and keep a diary of the events/foods/noises/movements of the days your dog had aggressive episodes? See any pattern? You described it like a seizure, maybe neurologically based? My daughter used to have seizures and she would get really angry afterwards, but would also get tired and vomit. Your dog does not seem to have other symptoms of seizures. Hope you can find someone to help with a more creative mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the advice everyone. Good stuff to keep in mind. Maybe I just need to be pushier with my current vet and get them to be willing to try it. His latest blood test though, the thyroid was honestly not at low enough levels that I'd want to treat based on that alone, and in his shoes, I'd refuse to do it.

The first two tests? Definitely. But those are older tests, too. I think Dr. Dodds has a fee for just simple consultation, maybe I'll send some money her way and ask what she thinks about thyroid.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Scratch the above reply, need to add to it (remembered some more information) and my timer is up:

Thanks for the advice everyone. Good stuff to keep in mind. Maybe I just need to be pushier with my current vet and get them to be willing to try it. I admit, I really don't like doing this on my own, I'm just frustrated. I guess I should try harder to get my vet on board, I'm just really bad about making my case. I mean, even IF my vet is flat out wrong (and I think he is, because he isn't even listening to what I'm seeing - he just outright dismisses it), he's got the veterinary degree and a lot more education in the matter. A little intimidating, I guess.

His latest blood test though, the thyroid was honestly not at low enough levels that I'd want to treat based on that alone, and in his shoes, I'd refuse to do it. I don't know if it was a fluke or actually a sign that his thyroid levels are not as bad as I thought they were. There are other things about his behavior, and physiological symptoms (dry coat/brittle nails - I manage it with 2000mg flaxseed oil daily, and that improves the quality significantly), that make me think thyroid, though.

Is it possible he has cyclical low thyroid? I've never read anything to know if that is actually a "thing" but maybe his thyroid levels, for some reason, drop into very low levels on a sort of cycle?

The first two tests? Definitely. But those are older tests, too. I think Dr. Dodds has a fee for just simple consultation, maybe I'll send some money her way and ask what she thinks about thyroid. I had a test done by her awhile back but it was almost two years ago now, I think.
 

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A holistic vet may be more willing to try that out. My argument was thyroid is a feedback loop. As long as the dose is well below the maximal normal production of the gland you are not doing harm. Grim did not have agression but his coat was sparse and he kept loosing topcoat and value was near borderline. Dodds maintains GSD thyroid values should be treated if below midline for normal dogs.

We gave Armour thyroid. More expensive but natural which meals T3 etc. not just T4.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A holistic vet may be more willing to try that out. My argument was thyroid is a feedback loop. As long as the dose is well below the maximal normal production of the gland you are not doing harm. Grim did not have agression but his coat was sparse and he kept loosing topcoat and value was near borderline. Dodds maintains GSD thyroid values should be treated if below midline for normal dogs.

We gave Armour thyroid. More expensive but natural which meals T3 etc. not just T4.
All of his tests have been below the 50% midpoint. His "best" test was probably only at 30% (if we say the maximum value is 100%). I'll still bring it up with the vet. Treating myself something like this does make me leery. I guess I just need to be pushier.
 

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You should see a vet who specializes in behavioral issues. You have been told by three vets, plus the one who posted in this thread, that it is unlikely to be a thyroid issue. While it is possible that they are all wrong, you are focusing on this one possible cause and are not investigating the many other possibilities. Find a vet who is a member of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. He or she will be the best person to evaluate the situation.
 

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My last comments will be that reading about a disease/treating a disease and real life are 2 different things, and I didn't believe this as well in my "pre-working-as-an-actual-vet" days. I really think you need to step back from thinking this is all about the thyroid and consult with a behaviorist. I have done a lot of veterinary behavior work as well and many, many times what the owners described and/or saw was very different than what we saw was going on. You are probably more knowledgable than these pet owners being that you are a solid member here but that is really what needs to be done. The consults aren't usually too awful expensive, and it certainly won't hurt.

If someone knows about published cases where aggression was treated with ONLY thyroid medication on a dog with normal thyroid results and the aggression vastly improved/disappeared then I would really like to see that to further my own knowledge. Maybe someone has and I didn't get to read through everything yet.

A few people have asked me to post on this site since I think I'm the only vet, but I see the anti-vet attitude is still alive and well (assuming I don't have knowledge of certain things, you know just like none of us know anything about food, training, behavior, etc.), and no I'm not talking about the OP, just making a general statement. :) I can tell you that I would not allow a client to "push me" to treat for a disease that I don't have good evidence for is the problem, especially when the meds are not benign. We have had people at my clinic try to force us to give them certain things or do things a certain way, and we kindly explain why we will not do that and if they persist then they can go elsewhere. I'm not trying to be a jerk but it can be hard to see from our side unless you are actually in those shoes because my opinion about certain things is much different than that I had even while in vet school.

I will go back to just reading and not posting now, and good luck to the OP. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
You should see a vet who specializes in behavioral issues. You have been told by three vets, plus the one who posted in this thread, that it is unlikely to be a thyroid issue. While it is possible that they are all wrong, you are focusing on this one possible cause and are not investigating the many other possibilities. Find a vet who is a member of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. He or she will be the best person to evaluate the situation.
He's been to more than one trainer and seen no improvement.

Had you read my first post you would have seen that none of these three vets have even listened to anything I have to say, the idea is simply dismissed right out of hand without even being discussed.

Aggression, while a very generic symptom, is a KNOWN symptom of low & low-normal thyroid in dogs.

I don't care if 100 vets told me that it is not thyroid, if not a one of them will even sit down to discuss it to me, their advice doesn't mean anything. It isn't informed and it isn't based on evidence because they won't even take the time to listen to the evidence.

~

His thyroid results aren't normal. Dr. Dodds maintains that thyroid results for a GSD should be above the mid-line mark of the reference ranges. He's never tested that high, even on his best test. He isn't pure GSD but that's primarily what is in him.

And I'm sorry, but what "you see" is exactly the problem. Only one of the vets I went to was so arrogant as to proclaim she knew EXACTLY what was wrong with him based on how he acted IN THE VET'S OFFICE - she didn't care how he acted at home. Dismissed it as irrelevant. Yes, lady, I realize you can't see how he acts at home, but I'm trying to describe it to you, and you aren't even taking it into account.

Dogs don't act the same in the office as they at home. So yeah, it is pretty hard to see things from "your side" when you (vets in general, I mean) won't even take into account that simple fact.

If you won't take into account how I'm describing his behavior at home, then as far as I'm concerned, you're a useless vet. If you're trying to treat an issue with behavioral symptoms and you're completely discounting how a dog acts where he lives out 99.9% of his life...

I'm sorry, but how he acts in your office is largely irrelevant, at least in a situation like mine. And if that isn't something you're willing to take into account, I'm moving on to a different vet. I still want to give my current vet another shot, because their prices are good and they are very good with handling Samson.

I've been to the trainers already, I'm done with that. I was told that while they might be able to help they think something more is going on. I'm ready to do something more.
 

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He's been to more than one trainer and seen no improvement.

Had you read my first post you would have seen that none of these three vets have even listened to anything I have to say, the idea is simply dismissed right out of hand without even being discussed.

Aggression, while a very generic symptom, is a KNOWN symptom of low & low-normal thyroid in dogs.

I don't care if 100 vets told me that it is not thyroid, if not a one of them will even sit down to discuss it to me, their advice doesn't mean anything. It isn't informed and it isn't based on evidence because they won't even take the time to listen to the evidence.
I read your post. You have made up your mind about the cause, and are looking for people to agree with you.

I have an aggressive dog. I took her to the vet, and raised the thyroid issue after reading similar posts on this forum. It wasn't the cause.

I didn't say to take her to a trainer. There are vets who specialize in behavior issues. You need to find one. I took mine to Cornell University's animal behavioral clinic.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I read your post. You have made up your mind about the cause, and are looking for people to agree with you.

I have an aggressive dog. I took her to the vet, and raised the thyroid issue after reading similar posts on this forum. It wasn't the cause.

I didn't say to take her to a trainer. There are vets who specialize in behavior issues. You need to find one. I took mine to Cornell University's animal behavioral clinic.
No, I haven't made up my mind that he needs thyroid meds. I think it is a likely source and one that hasn't even been explored yet, so sorry if I'm a little short about it, but it's next on the list of things to try. I've made up my mind that it is a medical issue; it may or may not be thyroid. It may be that I'm wrong, but I'm not wasting any more time on the behavioral angle when it is becoming abundantly more clear all the time that it is not a behavioral problem at its source.

I've done the behavioral angle as far as I'm willing to take it. Nothing about what I see says behavioral, and I'm not going to just sit around and exhaust that possibility to the ends of the earth before exploring medical explanations.

Frankly that was never something it was very likely to be. What I'm seeing is not behavioral in source. I explored that route to eliminate it as a possibility. It's eliminated unless nothing else turns up, then I may go back to it. I don't have an aggressive dog (he perfectly safe to be around 99% of the time - it's that 1% that worries me); our cases are not even remotely related. And even if I did have an aggressive dog, there's still nothing to say your situations is even remotely related.

I don't need to "find" anything. And if that's all the advice you have, then you may as well just leave it at that because it's not anything that is going to help my dog.

I've been dealing with this and observing incidents for two years, a lot longer than someone who spent fifteen seconds reading about it on an internet forum. There isn't anything I'm "just missing." I'm not missing a trigger, I'm not missing something being off, I'm not missing any common variables. There aren't any. So sorry if I'm not willing to buy that a dog that absolutely adores someone will, without warning, turn into Cujo for fifteen seconds and then go right back to acting like nothing is wrong at all, is "just a behavioral problem."

I'm looking for medical explanations to explore. If you don't like that, then you may as well not waste your time trying to convince me otherwise, because I'll be flat out honest, here: I'm not interested. I've been working on treating it as a behavior problem for two years. I'm done with it.
 

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wow, no thyroid expert here but you come across very negative about vets, hope you get to the cause of the problem and it all gets better.
 
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