Friday, September 2, 2011

On Aggression and Thyroid

Murphy's Story

This quirky, ball obssessed border collie landed in our lives in the fall of 2008. He wasn't without issues (who is?!) but we were smitten. When not chasing after balls or showing off his Lassie like qualities, he would climb on our laps, wrap his paws around our necks and give kisses galore. We took him to classes, played agility and laughed when a tennis ball landed in our bed at 6am sharp every morning.

But then this summer, something changed. First, we noticed an extra growl here and there. Then the snarls came. And later on, we would find ourselves cornered in random places by a dog whose hard stare would make your blood freeze. We knew something was very, very wrong.

A routine physical revealed nothing. Luckily, we and our vet were aware of the evidence linking sudden, unpredictable aggression to thyroid issues. We mailed Murphy's blood to dr. Dodds at a California based non-profit organization Hemopet specializing in thyroid issues (

It only took a couple of days for the results to come back, and we were astonished to find that despite no clinical signs other than the aggression, Murphy was at the end-stage of hypothyroidism. His values were up to ten times lower than they should be for a dog of his breed and age!

Within 48 hours of simple treatment with inexpensive thyroid meds ($5-10 a month), Murphy was back to his old self. His eyes softened and we stopped seeing the freezing, growling and snarling that were a frequent occurance before the treatment.

We are incredibly thankful to have our sweet, mushy border collie back, but we wonder how many dogs die needlessly because people are not aware of the link between thyroid issues and aggression. Please spread the word.

Murphy's family


Edie said...

Thanks, Petra! Your scary month serves as a good reminder that dogs have complicated chemical balances that can be thrown out of whack, just like people do!

Ellen said...

Wow-- good for you and your vet. Behaviour changes like that simply are not normal.

So happy that you have your mush ball back. Thanks for posting!