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Hungarian Sheepdog Hypothyroidism

April 24, 2010
hungarian sheepdog

Rescued on the Streets of Europe, This Huge Patient Had a Rough Life Start

Sugar Bear peered out at Doc Truli from under tight, curly white furry eyebrows.  His gigantic, round curly white furry tail and rear end wedged between a black leather chair and a black wooden side table with a box of white scent-free facial tissues teetering half-way over the gold gilded edge above his enormous white tight curly furry shoulder blades.

This Kommondor was not taking his examination lightly.  Rescued from the streets of Budapest when he was only a 4 month-old puppy, he was grey, wet, matted, filthy, hungry, and suspicious of people.  Abandoned on the streets and kicked and yelled at by people who just wanted to chase him away from piles of food thrown away in the alleys behind their bistros, the puppy learned to distrust everyone.

When she saw him on the street, his (future) mom tried to call him over to her.  Kicked too many times, hungry and cold, he snarled and ran behind a car.  She knew he just needed food and love.  Starting with the food, Sugar Bear sniffed cautiously from behind a car tire.  He snatched the food and gobbled it behind the safety of the car.  For days, his mom visited the alley and brought food until finally, the lonely puppy let her approach and pick him up.

Tens years later, 180 pounds, snowy white curly fur, and immigration to the United States turned Sugar into a mostly trusting soul.

“He won’t bite you,” said his mom.  Hmmm, the start of many fateful examinations…..

A Careful, Calm Approach Avoids Sedation for Examination

“Please ask him to come out of the corner and sit in front of you,” said Doc Truli.

“Sugar, Sugar, honey, come on out,” said mom.  Yeah, right.

Sugar glared at the Doc and glanced uncertainly toward his mom.

“Come on, Sugar, sit here in front of mommy.”

Doc Truli calmly, slowly opened the exam room door.  Sugar thought he was going back out to the car.  He took a few steps forward, out of the corner.

“Good boy, Sugar,” she held his leash, “Sit here, sweetheart.”

Get a Large, Fearful Dog to Move Out of a Corner; Do Not Reach Out and Pull Him Out!!!

This 180 pound Hungarian Sheepdog miraculously stopped in front of his mom’s knees and sat down!  There was no way Doc Truli was going to force him to go along with the program.  Everyone was glad Sugar cooperated willingly.  A sigh of relief was heard around the exam room.

Crouch at the Dog’s Level, But be Ready to Jump to Safety If He Lunges!

Doc Truli crouched down shoulder to shoulder with Sugar Bear and tickled under his right ear.  He leaned into the Doc.  This was a good sign he was not going to become aggressive.  Up flipped the ear flap.   A foul, sickly sweet smell wafted over the room.  Dry, flaky, gooey yellow crusted ooze covered the underside of Sugar’s ear flap and stuck in the tight curly white fur.

Tru Tip

A yeast ear infection (yeast otitis externa) often causes a thick, dry, yellow flaky, waxy appearance to the ear discharge, often causes the ear flap and ear canal where you can’t see deep inside to swell and become hot pink and bumpy on the surface.  The yeast infection has a classic sickly sweet fermented smell to it.  Your veterinarian performs a test using a microscope called an ear smear cytology and identifies the yeast by their classic “shoeprint” shape of a man’s traditional office dress shoe.

Sugar turned his head to lick Doc Truli’s cheek.  Only the first fifteen years of her life flashed before her eyes as she realized Sugar Bear relaxed.  His expression seemed humorous, like he thought the Doc’s concern for him was amusing.  Maybe he enjoyed having his submandibular lymph nodes felt for enlargement.  They were normal.

Be Careful to Tuck Your Fingers Out of the Way When You Approach a Frightened Dog’s Mouth

The Doc took a finger and lifted his upper right lip gently, careful not to press against his sensitive ear with her arm.  Sugar’s teeth looked clean and healthy.  A critical test came next.

Never Stare Directly Into a Frightened Dog’s Eyes!

Staring directly into a dog’s eyes, especially when he feels nervous or threatened, may precipitate immediate violence.

However, Every Veterinarian MUST Stare Into the Dog’s Eyes to Examine the Eyes!

Doc turned 3/4 to face Sugar’s right eye.  Yellow-green crusted goo stuck to his eyelids and the whites of his eyes were beet red with inflammation.  An assistant handed Doc a clean, white sterile gauze with saline eye wash to wipe the crust away.  Even though Sugar’s eye undoubtedly ached, the gauze felt cool and soothing.  Doc wiped away the crust from both eyes.

Now that Doc and Sugar were getting to know each other, the rest of the physical examination proceeded smoothly.

Hypothyroidism Causes Many Health Problems

“He’s been acting old, Doc,” said Sugar Bear’s mom.

“Sugar grew the eye infection, ear infection, and has an arthritis flare-up because he is low on his thyroid hormone,” said Doc Truli.

Tru Tip

The thyroid is called a master gland because the thyroid hormone it produces helps to set the body’s metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is the speed of all the hormones, enzymes, electric signals, muscle activity, heart rate, immune system response time, skin healing…everything!  If the thyroid is slow, the hormone is down and the body becomes tired and unresponsive to whatever stimulus it does get.  Stress, infections, toxins…everything attacks the body and causes further illness.

“Really?  The thyroid can do all that?  I just didn’t have time to bring him in for his physical and the blood test, so I ran out of pills about 6 months ago,” said Sugar’s mom.

“Think of the thyroid this way: the thyroid has a skeleton key to get into all parts of the body.  If it is low, the body functions all slow down,” said Doc Truli.

“So, it’s really that important?” asked mom.

“Yes, it’s that important,” said the Doc.

Sugar wagged his tight, curly white furry tail and licked the Doc’s cheek again.

Do you have a Pet Rescue Story to Share?  Comment here or email your story to subject line: Pet Stories.  We’d love to hear from you!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Norton Feeler permalink
    May 11, 2010 7:58 am

    That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for the sake of all the earnestness to submit such helpful knowledge here.


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