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My 10-year-old Labrador keeps getting skin infections and is moulting a lot. He also seems to have aged quickly – he’s not really that itchy, but I’m worried. What do you think it might be?

Graham Finch advises…

Your very good and concise history immediately makes me think he might have an underactive thyroid. This is known as hypothyroidism and can be treated with lifelong tablets.

Hypothyroidism has a range of effects on the body, including affecting the skin’s defence system and the hair follicles, which can lead to the signs you describe. In the simplest terms, this can be diagnosed with a single blood test, looking at the relationship between two hormones including the thyroid hormone itself. I’d suggest you make an appointment for your Lab and chat it over with your own vet, who will then advise.

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