Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What could be wrong? My Toblerone is a very fluffy little guy and always had a thick, luxurious tail ... until recently. He blew his coat around June and was a little sleeker looking over the summer, but his tail still had substance. Now his winter coat is coming back in, he's "fluffing up" for the cold, but his tail is going in the opposite direction. It has thinned out almost to the point of looking spiny. The feathers are still there, and they're luxuriously long (the longest almost 10" - yes, I measured! :p:), but it seems as if all the undercoat has gone. Just looking at Muddypaw's signature pic of Darby & Kirby made me so sad - because that's what Toby used to look like from behind. Not anymore.

I did some digging and found that some dogs tear at their tails - out of boredom, etc. - but I have never observed that in Toby, and we're together almost 24/7. I've also seen references to allergies, but I don't think Toby has any. He's on a high quality grain-free food, is bathed and groomed regularly with high quality soap-free shampoos and conditioner, and I inspect his skin at every bath (once a week). He has no skin issues at all. There also haven't been any changes in food/environment/shampoo etc. that he could be reacting to.

I'm stumped. Why would his tail be thinning while the rest of him is fluffing up, and is this likely to grow back, or is it a symptom of a deeper issue?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

·
where the tails wag
Joined
·
13,380 Posts
I would have a complete thyroid panel done. All 3 of my dogs who had thyroid issues had thinning tails as one of the first symptoms.

Both my Casey and my King have/had glorious plumes for tails which returned when the supplementation is right. ETA: Rowdy had a bushier style tail, not so much the glorious plume

Good luck :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,215 Posts
Yep, have a full thyroid panel done. Don't wait and don't let your vet talk you out of it. We just found out the hard way that some vets aren't particularly knowledgeable when it comes to thyroid disease.

Riley was showing the same sign - thinning coat, primarily on the tail. Our now previous vet dismissed it as "allergies." He'd also gained quite a bit of weight, which was dismissed as "food" and "too many treats.". He wouldn't run the test, telling me that there's no way Riley is hypothyroid. Well, we went around him, had the panel run ourselves, by Hemopet, and lo and behold... he's hypothyroid!

So don't let your vet dismiss you and/or talk you out of having the panel done. It may NOT be hypothyroid, but it's better to run the test and find out for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
:doh: Thyroid! I should have thought of that - especially in a Golden. He seems awfully young for it, but it certainly isn't impossible. I just got off the phone with his vet, and Toby's got an appointment for tomorrow morning. They immediately agreed to do the panel. I hope it turns out fine, but better safe than sorry. :crossfing Thank you both.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,215 Posts
:doh: Thyroid! I should have thought of that - especially in a Golden. He seems awfully young for it, but it certainly isn't impossible. I just got off the phone with his vet, and Toby's got an appointment for tomorrow morning. They immediately agreed to do the panel. I hope it turns out fine, but better safe than sorry. :crossfing Thank you both.
That's great! Let us know what you find out.
 

·
Inactive
Joined
·
11,326 Posts
I came here, just based on the title, to say "a thinning tail is a common first symptom of hypothyroid." I see that several other posters have beaten me to the punch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you, Tippykayak. That's another strong endorsement, given your knowledge and experience! :)

One more question: with hypothyroidism in humans, there is a sub-clinical range where doctors may be reluctant to treat, yet the patient's well-being may be seriously affected. I've learned it's always important to ask for actual results, not just a decision on treatment.

Is it the same for dogs? Should I ask for the actual results of the panel, and what kind of T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3, etc. values should I be looking for?

ETA: Sorry, never mind, I did some more digging and found the answer to my question. http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com...interesting-article-dr-hines.html#post1223304 :)
 

·
In the Moment
Joined
·
20,515 Posts
Yes, be sure it's the FULL panel..... T3, free T3, T4, free T4 and the anitbodies. With Dr Dodds, she also gives her interpretation and suggestions for treatment ( if needed) in addition to the lab results.
 
  • Like
Reactions: tobysmommy

·
Knife Swallower
Joined
·
6,783 Posts
Argh...this is my fear with Ranger. He too has a thin looking tail. Does Toby have any other signs of thyroid issues?

I'm thinking that Ranger's might just be because he blew his coat last month right around the time he was sick for 2 weeks and was on a strict potato diet for 2 weeks straight, then only had chicken added to it for the next two weeks before we went to kibble. He's still recovering from his bout of sickness and lack of nutrition in other ways, so I'm praying that his tail will recover and it's not a thyroid problem. Otherwise he's fine - coat everywhere else is normal, no weight gain/loss, typical self...plus the fact that his coat usually gets worse in the fall until it grows back in...that's the only thing keeping me calm.

But if his tail doesn't get better by Christmas, we'll be heading off to the vet to run a thyroid panel. I hope your Toby is fine! Maybe it's something silly...hopefully!
 
  • Like
Reactions: tobysmommy

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I'm not sure if Dr. Dodds is available to Canadians, but I'll certainly insist on a full thyroid panel!

Argh...this is my fear with Ranger. He too has a thin looking tail. Does Toby have any other signs of thyroid issues?
No, that's the odd thing. He's normally active, not lethargic, the rest of his coat is nice and thick and shiny, he is lean and muscular with his weight holding steady at about 75 lbs. (He weighed in at 74.5 lbs. before his bath this morning.) I don't know how this could be autoimmune thyroiditis, as neither his parents nor grandparents had thyroid issues, and he's very young for hypothyroidism as a result of atrophy. Nor is he on any medications and, to the best of my knowledge, has no other medical conditions. He's just a baby! I'm worried about my little buddy. :(

You gave me hope and some food for thought when you mentioned that Ranger blew his coat right when he was very ill - same with Toblerone. He was very ill at the end of May, and blew his coat in June. The thing is, his tail didn't thin out abnormally back then. That only happened in the last few weeks.

But if his tail doesn't get better by Christmas, we'll be heading off to the vet to run a thyroid panel. I hope your Toby is fine! Maybe it's something silly...hopefully!
Thank you, and I hope Ranger is just fine as well and they'll both be growing thick, luxurious plumes on their bummies again soon. :)
 

·
Knife Swallower
Joined
·
6,783 Posts
Yep, same with Ranger. He didn't lose his tail feathers the same time as he blew his coat. He lost them a week or two later. The rest of his coat is looking better and shinier, but his skin is still a little dry and flaky (normal for when he blows his coat in the fall). His tail...sigh. It looks so stringy! I've also been saturating it in conditioner before brushing it these past few weeks. Not to mention all the food he's been getting lately: raw egg once a day, 2 fish oil pills/day, and sardines, herring, and mackerel a few times a week.

I'm scanning pics trying to tell when exactly his tail thinned out...and so i can see if it starts to get better!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Yep, same with Ranger. He didn't lose his tail feathers the same time as he blew his coat. He lost them a week or two later. The rest of his coat is looking better and shinier, but his skin is still a little dry and flaky (normal for when he blows his coat in the fall).
Hmm...Toby's tail is neither dry nor flaky and never has been, nor did he lose his feathers. It's the undercoat that seems to have disappeared on his tail. I like the idea of the pictures - maybe I'll try to get some of Toby's tail as it is right now and post them.
 

·
Inactive
Joined
·
11,326 Posts
He could just have a kind of thin tail like Comet. Comet will barber it if it gets dirty or salty or tangled at all, so it's hard to keep it thick, even though the rest of his coat is lovely and he's not hypothyroid (though he's never been tested).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I just found out how difficult it is to get that tail to stop wagging just long enough to get a couple of pictures! :p:

Here they are. I know his tail isn't completely ratty yet, but it's definitely much thinner than it used to be.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
He could just have a kind of thin tail like Comet.
That's possible, I suppose, but up until a couple of weeks ago, it was nice and thick. I've never seen Toby barber his tail - no matter how messy it gets. His philosophy is "the messier, the better". Any barbering is down to me. :p:
 

·
Knife Swallower
Joined
·
6,783 Posts
Oh, I meant the rest of his coat like along his back had gotten a little dull and skin flaky. But again, that's normal for ranger in the fall...I just never noticed his tail looking so sad in previous years.

Yep - Ranger's tail looks a lot like Toby's except even thinner...though his is never very pouffy anyway since he doesn't have much of a coat. Can you post a before pic?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,140 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
So it's not hypothyroidism. Toby's bloodwork came back, and his thyroid is normal - all values are in the middle of their respective reference ranges. His calcium level is a little high, but not seriously so (2.87 mmol/L). I suppose the next possibility is an undiscovered allergy, but I can't imagine what it would be, and he doesn't display any other signs of allergy (scratching, skin issues, licking paws, etc.).

As I mentioned in my original post, Toby is on grain-free food, and has been since puppyhood. I also steer clear of chicken, because it gives him very smelly gas. He eats a lamb formula, and gets 2 Tbsp. of fish oil daily. A spoon of Ascenta Canine Omega-3 in the morning, and a spoon of Carlson cod liver oil in the evening. I also supplement his kibble diet with raw meat/bones.

Is there anything else I could/should be doing? Or could I be doing something that I should stop? Toby wants his tail back! :(
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top