Signs & symptoms of thyroid cancer in dogs

Written by kyle fiechter
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Signs & symptoms of thyroid cancer in dogs
Medium to large dogs, such as golden retrievers, are more susceptible to thyroid cancer. (golden retriever image by totti from

Thyroid glands are located in the neck and produce hormones that effect body function and growth through the entire dog, according to Washington State Universities College of Veterinary Medicine. Though rare, tumours sometimes arise from the thyroid gland. defines benign, nonspreading cancers as adenomas, and malignant, spreading cancers are called carcinomas. Carcinomas are unfortunately more rare in dogs than adenomas and are usually discovered after noticing a swelling in the dog's neck.


Overactive thyroid glands, or hyperthyroidism, is usually the result of benign tumours. Hyperthyroidism usually presents itself with restless behaviour, drinking and urinating more than usual or hair coat abnormalities. These symptoms are not generally associated with malignant tumours and are rare.

Difficulty Breathing

Coughing and difficulty in breathing are common signs of a tumour that compresses the dog's windpipe. At this stage it is difficult to tell whether the difficulty in breathing is due to a thyroid tumour or some other complication. Consult a veterinarian to diagnose the problem.

Difficulty Swallowing

Oesophagus compression is the result of tumour growth in the thyroid. In this case the dog may experience difficulty swallowing. Your dog may eat slowly, showing reduced enthusiasm at feeding times.

Bark Pitch

Voice box nerves are sometimes affected by the presence of a thyroid tumour, resulting in a change in the tone of the dog's bark. If you notice a change over time of your dog's bark pitch, whether slowly or suddenly, consult a veterinarian.

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