Our Golden Retriever is 9 years old and 100lbs (down from 137lbs; been dieting). He has allergies so needs at least 1 (no more than 2) cortisone shots per year especially around Summer time. He also has hypothyroidism which he takes pills for.
I don't want to focus solely on this, but I read in this thread: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/210 , that excessive amounts of cortisone can cause excessive thirst, excessive hunger, and hair loss. Taz (his name) has a great deal of hair loss the past few days. We have literally combed off 3 wal-mart bags full to the top of hair, and yet somehow he has no bald spots, no red spots, no skin bleeding, no cracking....etc.. He does have dandruff and has had staph infection of the skin before. Today we brought him to the vet to get checked and they say he's absolutely fine.
We just cannot believe the amount of hair he's losing. We bathed him to get rid of the bulk of it, but it just seems to keep on coming. Now we are in South, LA and the weather here has been insanely screwy changing from 80 degrees one day and then 40 degrees the next over and over and over again. There was even a record breaking amount of snowfall here in middle December and within the next few days it was back up to 80 again.
We were wondering if his body doesn't know what to do as far as the coat goes. He isn't scratching, but he has been biting his leg (prior to bath). We and the Vet looked at that and I see nothing. His skin is light pink everywhere between the coat, except on his belly near his groin has turned pretty white..... almost no pink there at all where there is normally. Mean anything?
He seems fine, but I can tell you this... I can take just 2 fingers, pinch his fur and I pull up a clump/lock of hair easily..... yet he still doesn't seem to go bald in that spot. Is this just a second shedding of hair? normal? or maybe he's got something wrong?
I forgot to add that he is so hungry that he will even eat the seeds that we put out for birds/squirrels, that he daily tries and probably does eat his own stool, and he will not stop eating grass religiously..... I am constantly yelling at him to stop eating grass. We could be in the middle of running/playing and he will stop and eat grass 1st chance he gets. This has ALWAYS been the case.
Is his thyroid medication ok? The dose not too high? Did you ask the vet about this? Excessive hunger can sometimes be caused by a slightly OVER active thyroid. But I wouldn't mess with the dose before you speak to the vet about it. It may not be the case.
My dog is normal as far as Thyroid is concerned, but even she will eat absolutely anything she can find! Including birds food I put out.
Some dogs do eat grass with no obvious ill-effects. It can be hard to know exactly why they do this, but it has been suggested that it is the fibre they need. My dog eats grass sometimes, does not throw up, and it seems to do her no harm.
The shedding does sound a bit extreme. But it could be natural, simply because of the rapid changes in temperature. And I have a short-haired dog, (she is shedding hair at the moment) and the other day I hoovered about I bagful of dog hair up! So they can really give it some when they are doing that!
The thing to do is observe him for any accompanying symptoms. If you feel his hair loss and hunger is too extreme, get him checked for thyroxin balance. Otherwise, if everything is ok there, and he is generally well, these could be natural things.
We have not had adrenal tests done as a result of the cortisone shots.
His thyroid medication has been properly adjusted to his weight as he's lost weight. The vet constantly shakes his head at us when we as to have his thyroid levels tested again cause they believe it will always be deficient, but he's lost nearly 40 lbs and is on a daily exercise schedule now which is way the opposite of before. I guess we've hoped that with these big changes his thyroid would've resumed proper function, especially with his body and likely the thyroid itself not being as fatty.
Honestly, the hunger thing I think is simply related to the people in the house that he lives with. There are 4 people here eating at all completely random times of the day/night into the AM hours. He always wants a piece to share and my Dad is the worst at giving him handouts which is why we started the diet to begin with. Dad feels guilty. We just ignore Taz when he begs, but Dad can't for some reason. Dad also eats too much so this doesn't help the domino effect.
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