Thyroid Problems in Pets

It is interesting to me that dogs only get low or hypo thyroid and cats get high or hyper thyroid. The thyroid gland produces a hormone that influences metabolism in the body.

In dogs with hypothyroidism, the dogs tend to become less active and experience weight gain. Their hair coat may become dull, often coarser and more straw-like over time. Eventually the hair thins. Sometimes these changes are thought to be normal signs of aging by the owner. A simple blood screening test can be run at the clinic and results are available in about fifteen minutes. If hypothyroidism is diagnosed we can then put the dog on medications to supplement its thyroid hormone.

Cats often exhibit weight loss, in spite of a healthy appetite. In some cases they are noticeably more active. As the disease progresses they have vomiting and/or diarrhea. The same simple blood test we use to check for hypothyroidism in dogs will also check cats for hyperthyroidism.

With cats there are several treatment options. There is a drug that can control thyroid levels. The drug can be given as a pill or more conveniently can be compounded into a transdermal gel. The transdermal gel is simply applied to the skin on the surface of the ear. Another treatment option that is more permanent is Radio Iodine treatment; however this involves referral to a specialty clinic. The newest treatment for cats is a specially formulated food that the clinic now carries.

If you suspect your pet has a thyroid issue, give us a call. We will be glad to answer any questions.