Hypothyroidism Help

Treating hypothyroidism as a way to improve behavioral health dates back to the 1940s, when psychiatrists first noted this correlation in their human patients.  More recently, Drs. Nicholas Dodman and Linda Aronson, of Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (TCSVM) began treating dogs with behavior problems for low, or borderline-low, thyroid levels and noting an improvement in a variety of behavior problems involving fear, anxiety and aggression.    While such reports of behavioral improvement are helpful, more conclusive evidence is necessary to validate the therapeutic efficacy of thyroid replacement therapy in the treatment of canine behavior problems.  To address this need, researchers at TCSVM are currently enrolling dogs that demonstrate owner-directed aggression and have concurrent low or borderline low thyroid levels into an 8-week clinical trial.  

If you own a dog that growls, lifts a lip, snaps at, or otherwise “bites the hand that feeds,” on a daily or near-daily basis, please contact Nicole Cottam, Animal Behavior Service Coordinator for Tufts at 508-887-4802 ([email protected]) for enrollment information.  A visit to TCSVM is not necessary if your local veterinarian is willing to assist.  Owners of behaviorally qualified dogs will receive a free thyroid test.  All thyroid testing is completed via Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemopet/Hemolife Laboratory in California.  Once enrolled, owners will be required to count and record the number of family-directed aggressive episodes, on a daily basis, for 2 months.  Behavioral advice can be provided to non-responders.  Dogs currently on thyroid treatment are not eligible to enroll.

Note: dogs will be randomly assigned to either a treatment or a placebo group.  Dogs that receive placebo will not start thyroid treatment until the end of the eight-week clinical trial.