It’s always alarming when your, once-perky-and-energetic pet looks up at you with droopy, melancholic eyes, to let you know something is physically wrong. Because our furry children don’t speak, it’s important to know what the common health concerns are, how to spot them, and how to solve these issues. Below, we discuss the importance of our pet’s thyroid health as well as common symptoms to look out for in order to keep our loves happy and full of life!
What does the Thyroid Gland do?
For our canine and feline friends, the thyroid rests on both sides of their windpipe (pictured to the right). It controls certain hormones that work together to give your pet energy and to control growth patterns, body temperature, and heart rate. These hormones also regulate your pet’s metabolism, nervous system, and even skin conditions! According to OnlyNaturalPet.com, thyroid problems—also known as Hyperthyroidism—are common in both cats and dogs. However, specific mid-to-large breeds such as “Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Greyhounds, Irish Setters, and Cocker Spaniels” are more susceptible.
How do Thyroid Problems Arise?
In dogs, thyroid issues are either caused by tumors in the thyroid or when the thyroid gland no longer produces enough hormones to properly regulate your pup’s body. This arises when your dog’s immune system “attacks and destroys the cells responsible for making the thyroid hormones“. For cat’s, however, thyroid problems usually present themselves when your feline processes too much of the hormones and therefore increases your kitty’s metabolism. According to OnlyNaturalPet.com, it seems like felines that have been fed with lower quality food are more susceptible to these issues as low-grade food may have artificial preservatives. However, infections—such as bacterial or viral infections—and environmental toxins can also contribute to thyroid problems!
What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Problems?
Changes in Energy Patterns: For dogs, thyroid problems may be present if your pooch is lethargic and less active than normal. For cats on the other hand, they exhibit more energy than usual. PetMD says symptoms for feline thyroid issues may be increased thirst, vocalization, urination, hunger, and vomiting.
Weight Fluctuation: If dogs portray Hyperthyroidism, you will notice weight gain, despite feeding them their normal diet. For cats however, weight loss is more common, despite their apparent increase in energy and appetite.
Skin Conditions: Problem’s with the Thyroid can also present itself through your pet’s coat. For dogs, their coat will get dryer and you may even see flaky skin as well. This may cause your pooch to itch and scratch. Just be cognizant of other symptoms as dog’s itchy skin may also be a sign of allergies! According to OnlyNaturalPet.com over 80% of dogs suffering from Hyperthyroidism exhibit skin conditions such as dryness, flakiness, and hair loss. For cat’s, it is the opposite in which your feline’s coat will appear to be “greasy and matted” and your kitty may even stop their grooming routine.
Showing Signs of Being Cold: Now this symptom is surprising! If you witness your kitty or canine being abnormally cold—curling up in blankets, sitting next to a heater, or avoiding going outdoors—these are other common signs your loves may be presenting signs of hyperthyroidism.
Vomiting and Diarrhea: Both dogs and cats will exhibit vomiting and diarrhea if their hyperthyroidism remains untreated. What’s more, cats may develop high blood pressure and heart disease if Thyroid problems persist!
Treatment for Thyroid Problems
Luckily, there are a few approaches in treating Hyperthyroidism for our beloved critters! For example, if your pooch’s hyperthyroidism is caused by a tumor in the gland, surgical removal of the tumor may be all it takes to make your pup hormonally regulated and back to normal. Sometimes overmedicating your canine can cause elevated hormonal levels, which may cause Hyperthyroidism as well. In this case, a simple “adjustment of medication may be enough to solve the problem”
For cats, oral medications can regulate hormonal levels. The most popular medication for cats is called “Methimazole” and is usually the most preferred treatment method. However, surgery may be another option if your feline suffers from an infected gland or tumor. If these two treatment options don’t work, then “administration of radioactive iodine” is the most affective way to expose the gland to radiation in order to eradicate Hyperthyroidism.
All in all, it’s important to know your pet’s health risks and how they arise, in order to avoid health issues such as Hyperthyroidism. If left untreated, an insufficient thyroid can wreak havoc on your pet’s organs and their quality of life may deteriorate. So, if you see your cuddly critters exhibiting these five symptoms, go to your nearest vet to get treated! Above we’ve given you some treatments that help cure an unhappy thyroid. Do you know of any holistic remedies or supplements to help thyroid issues as well? Share below!