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Type of Thyroid Diseases - What is the Impact on your pets


                                                                   Thyroid Problems in Your Pet

Your pet’s thyroid is a sensitive organ that is susceptible to going awry.  It is important to realize the various problems that can be associated with the thyroid in order to understand your pet’s health and to ensure that it stays healthy and strong for years to come.

  • Hyperthyroid Disease

Hyperthyroid disease is one problem your pet can develop that is related to his thyroid.  With this disease, the thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxin.  In your pet’s body, thyroxin determines how quickly your pet is capable of burning fuel and making energy.  Every cell in your pet’s body must burn energy.  Therefore, every cell is affected by hyperthyroid disease. 

The first sign most pet owners notice in animals with a hyperthyroid is that the pet is very thin, despite having an incredible appetite.  This is because your pet’s thyroid is running in high gear and burning off energy too quickly.  Your pet may also seem nervous and irritable as a result of the disease.  His heartbeat may be rapid and his blood pressure may also be high.  Gradually, the heart of an animal with hyperthyroidism will increase in size and result in a condition known as myocardial hypertrophy.  This oversized heart wears out more quickly than a healthy heart.

No one is absolutely sure what causes hyperthyroid disease, but there has been a significant increase in the number of cats suffering from the disease in recent years.  In fact hyperthyroidism is very common in older cats.  Some experts believe it is due to the chemicals found in the plastic liners of canned cat foods.  In dogs, one of the causes appears to be thyroid cancer, though dogs rarely get the disease.

  • Hypothyroid Disease

Hypothyroid disease is caused by a deficiency in the thyroid hormone.  This causes the animal to be listless.  Generally, an animal with hypothyroid disease has dry and smelly skin.  The animal’s hair may also fall out and your pet may gain weight.  Many animals also become cognitively dull.  Fortunately, this disease is treatable. 

Hypothyroid disease is frequently found in dogs making it the most common endocrine disease in canines.  In fact, somewhere between 1 in 150 and 1 in 500 dogs suffer from the disease.  Cats, on the other hand, rarely have this disease. 

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroid and hypothyroid disease is the first line of defense for your pet.  If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, be sure to have it examined immediately by your veterinarian in order to prevent long-term negative effects.