Hypothyroidism is a relatively common ailment in dogs. Similar to people, Hypothyroid dogs have an under-active thyroid gland which can cause a range of symptoms including weight gain and low energy. For years, veterinarians have had access to a range of thyroid-supplement products. Most veterinary drug companies had their own brand of thyroid supplement; there were 10 different brands of levothyroxine for veterinarians to choose from. None of the drugs were FDA approved for use in dogs but they had a long track record of safety and efficacy. Veterinarians were allowed to use them because there was not an FDA approved thyroid medication for dogs available.
In early 2016 Llyod Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for their thyroid supplement, Thyro-Tabs Canine. Now that there is an FDA approved option, the companies manufacturing the unapproved products are no longer allowed to. This includes the chewable thyroid tablets as well as the Soloxine brand that we were using here at PAH. Veterinarians are being permitted to distribute what they have on their shelves, but when it comes to ordering more, PAH and all other animal hospitals will only be able to order Thyro-Tabs Canine. It’s a long process to FDA approval for a medication, so while it’s likely some of the other companies will pursue that path, it will likely be a while before there are other options available.
The good news in this is that the Thyro-Tabs Canine have been rigorously tested for safety and efficacy by the FDA and will continue to be monitored. It’s the same active ingredient that all of the others used – levothyroxine – and even if your dog has been on a different brand of supplement the transition should be smooth and their dose should stay at or very close to where it is now.
For more information, check out this article from Veterinary Information Network news – http://news.vin.com/vinnews.aspx?articleId=39721
and the FDA’s official website: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm482928.htm