June 23, 2018

FDA Alerts Pet Owners about Hyperthyroidism

The FDA is warning pet owners and veterinarians to the potential for hypothyroidism in their pets because some pet food and treats are made with livestock gullets that contain thyroid tissue and hormones. While hyperthyroidism is more common in cats, in dogs it is rare and is usually triggered by thyroid cancer.

Dog with Bowl of Dog Food

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss, increased appetite, restlessness, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, rapid and/or labored breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Continued exposure to excess thyroid hormones in these pet foods can cause damage to the heart and in some cases, death.

The Center for Veterinary Medicine recently investigated cases of three dogs in different households that showed signs of this disease. Testing on samples from the dogs were conducted at a reference laboratory. Those tests revealed elevated thyroid hormone in the blood, and no thyroid cancer.

Interviews with the dog’s owners found that all three dogs had been fed BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe TM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs and/or Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs. Those products were recalled for excessive thyroid hormone after these incidents.

After the dogs stopped eating those products, their clinical signs disappeared and their thyroid hormone levels returned to normal. The FDA tested unopened cans of BLUE Wilderness® Rocky Mountain Recipe TM Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs and Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs and confirmed that they contained active thyroid hormone. The source of thyroid hormones is likely from the use of gullets from which the thyroid glands were not completely removed before adding to pet food or treats.

Wellpet voluntarily recalled some of their products on March 17, 2017, as did the Blue Buffalo Company on the same day. Please check to make sure you do not have any of these products on hand. If you do, do not feed them to your pet. Throw them away in a secure garbage can so other animals can’t eat them.

And if your dog has eaten these products and is exhibiting the signs of hyperthyroidism, take him to the vet. Make sure that you have a record of your dog’s dietary history with you, as well as how much the dog was eating and for how long.

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