Thyroid Disease Can Lead to Problem Behaviors
Betty Lou, a young hound mix, arrived at Baypath in early 2022. Before finding her a perfect home, staff knew to keenly observe this pretty pup’s baseline behavior. Although Betty Lou was undoubtedly sweet and cuddly, she was also very high energy, in her glory when on ‘sniff’ walks in Baypath’s wooded trails. As for many other working-type dogs who require extensive exercise and stimulation, Betty Lou began to exhibit high-stress, high-arousal behaviors in the shelter. Staff knew she would do best in a home environment, with a single set of people to bond with and gain attention from.
Staff turned to our Dog Foster Program. This robust program consists of approximately 25 families who take in and care for around 150 dogs and puppies each year. Although many of Baypath’s dogs thrive once in a loving foster home, Betty experienced separation anxiety, fear of unfamiliar noises and general nervousness in three different foster homes, eventually ending up back at the shelter.
To help Betty Lou, our team leveraged every tool in our expansive medical and behavioral toolbox. Our veterinarian completed a medical examination, leading to helpful pharmacological interventions for Betty Lou’s anxiety. Additionally, we created custom behavior plans to keep her active hound mind busy, making sure she had plenty of food puzzles, park field trips and interactive training sessions. And we turned to our turned to our seasoned dog volunteer team, including Doreen Garner, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, to set Betty Lou up with weekly nose work sessions.
Always eager to engage our animal-loving community, we also launched a dynamic social media campaign to attract the right match for this special girl, including TikTok videos and newsletter articles.
Despite these extensive collaborative efforts, Betty Lou continued to struggle at the shelter. Our team decided to consult once again with our veterinary partners, in an attempt to rule out a medical cause for Betty Lou’s behavioral issues. Upon this deeper dive, we were fascinated to learn that she did indeed have a medical issue contributing to her behaviors – a thyroid condition! Our shelter veterinarian, Dr. Andrea Moolenbeck, explained that Betty Lou didn’t fit the typical mold of a dog with hypothyroidism, which usually is categorized by lethargy and potentially mildly aggressive behavior. Dr. Moolenbeeck states that Betty Lou is a good example of how behavior can be affected by an underlying medical condition and stresses the importance of a “good diagnostic workup and medication trials in behavior cases.”
Baypath’s dedicated team quickly went into treatment mode, securing proper medication for Betty Lou’s newly-discovered condition. After just a few days, staff found her to be a completely different dog! She presented as social, content and peaceful – a far cry from the overly anxious, restless and fearful dog we had met several weeks before!
Staff and volunteers were thrilled when a wonderful family adopted Betty Lou. Her adopters share, “Betty Lou is the sweetest and most playful love bug we have ever met! She loves to go for walks (and chase squirrels – her favorite activity.) She even loves to play with our two cats as if she is one of them! She is part of our family, and we couldn’t have asked for a better dog and adoption experience.”
As Betty Lou snoozes away beside them on their couch, her doting family says, “we really lucked out with her.” We think if you asked Betty Lou, she would say that she is equally as lucky!
Betty Lou ~ Happy and At Home!