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I had bloodwork done on my dog because she had a sudden aggressive episode towards another dog about a month ago and we weren't sure exactly what caused it. She's seeing a behaviorist twice a month now which is starting to help her issues with anxiety and poor socialization. Her T4 test came back as 0.9. The vet said that normal levels are 1-4, but that she didn't seem like she was hypothyroid and it probably wasn't worth it to get the more expensive thyroid test (I think it was the full panel that was more expensive and he only did a SNAP T4?)

I trust my vet to let me know when something is really wrong, but I have also read information online suggesting that 0.9 might actually be too low for a four year-old large breed dog. She is still a bit overweight despite cutting her food back to 2-3 cups of kibble a day and 3/4 cups of treats (Zuke's, Natural Balance, cheese). It's pretty common for her not to finish her food. I have sometimes given her special treats in her Kong and on hiking trips though, so it's possible I am still overfeeding her. She was at a healthy weight at one point and gained a lot back within several weeks. She gets a 30 minute walk/jog in the morning, a short walk at lunch, and an hour long walk in the evening, plus weekend hiking trips.

Besides the weight, which could still be my fault for not counting calories, she seems low energy to me. When my other dogs were four, they still wanted to run around and play all the time. I remember them being ready to go for hours. I have to cajole Gypsy into playing and she only runs for short bursts before becoming tired. In the house, she sleeps pretty much all day. When I come home, we usually play catch or do tricks for 5-10 minutes and then she lies on her bed or follows me around until it's time to go out. She has good stamina for non-strenuous exercise. I would like to run with her more often, but my knees are hurting lately and I'm worried about injuring myself. She starts lagging behind after about 3/4 mile.

Any ideas if this is normal or not? Do GSDs typically have thyroid problems, or tend to have different "normal" levels than other dogs? How do you identify when energy level is just a dog's temperament and not indicative of some kind of health problem?
 

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I see your vet's point and from your post, it seems that your gsd is low energy like mine. But I would know that something is wrong if my Sting wouldn't want to play his favorite game, fetch/tug or if he had difficulty in doing his morning mile walk.
 

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GSD thyroid I have been told by a few breeders should be around 2.5. My friend is having this same issue with her GSD, temperament and energy level change. He was around 1.0 and they are treating him for hypothyroid. You know your dog, if he is acting different trust your instinct and treat him.


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I'd get the re-test if I were you. What's "normal" for one
dog might not really be for another. Ask me how I know
this? Because my last gsd had hyperthyroid, and a test
approx. 8 months before her death showed her within
the "normal" range. Only the 3rd case my vet had seen in 23 years of
practice. Vet consulted w/ a top notch endocrinologist
and was told that they treat thyroid levels well under the
"normal" range, and would definitely have started treating
my girl when she showed 3.9. Not 6.5 where she ended up.

I know my story is hyper and not hypo, but the hypo cases
are comparatively easy/inexpensive to treat, so I think you
should seriously consider doing it.
 

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Snap tests are not really accurate. They give a normal range for all dogs... If you have it done and sent to Michigan state , they will do a full scale test t-3 t-4 etc and give full results . Even the snap test is saying the results are below normal, although not by much. However, even a little low can cause issues with a dog.
For instance, Shelties are notorious for thyroid issues. When you do a regular test on them, the "norm" is 1-9.. However, with shelties they better be at least mid range to be normal, higher is better. MSU sends complete test results.
Low thyroid can cause aggression issues, uninterest in normal things, lethargy and lack of appetite. I would send a sample to MSU, but until results are back, ask your vet to start low dose treatment. I imagine you will see a change in your girl within a day or two. Not expensive and a week or so will not cause any issues, but will show quickly if it is low thyroid.
 

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Rudy's were low normal. My vet was on the fence to treat.

I emailed Rudy's thyroid results to Dr. Jean Dodd. She said to treat, so we have been.

He has lost weight and looks good. More active, and some hairless area on his belly have filled in.
 

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Your vet can redo and send to the Hemopet lab in Cal. Dr. Dodds,a leading thyroid expert, personally reviews the results and cross-references with her proprietary breed-specific database to determine "normal". It is not prohibitively expensive--the price list is on their website: Hemopet.org (between $85-$185, depending what your vet tacks on and how complex a panel).

When we got an inconclusive reading on one of mine, we did this--very worth it. I just told my vet the lab to use and he already had a way to get it there.


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Joey's Total T4 came back at 1.0

The range is 0.8 - 3.5

So technically the thyroid is ok, but I'm not feeling comfortable with this.
 
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