The Common Signs of Hypothyroidism in Pets
PetSmart Banfield, The Pet Hospital®
If your pet is showing signs of "slowing down" or seems to be acting a bit sluggish, she could be demonstrating signs of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the essential hormones needed in the regulation of many vital body functions. It usually develops gradually and is rare in cats.
Pets may exhibit one of many common signs of hypothyroidism including:
- Weight gain
- Reduced activity
- Decreased energy
- Dry, flaky skin
- Chronic skin and ear infections
- Hair loss
- Darkening of skin pigmentation
- Droopy or sad facial expression
Diagnosis is based on symptoms, examination findings and blood work that includes testing the level of thyroid hormone present.
Treatment usually consists of medication that replaces the missing thyroid hormone. If your pet is placed on replacement hormones, the thyroid level must be checked one to two months later, after any medicaiton adjustments and at occasional periods after to ensure proper dosage. Health issues associated with hypothyroidism such as skin or ear infections, will also need appropriate treatment.
Many pets on replacement hormones appear to feel better in general and experience energy gain, excess weight loss and improvements in skin or ear problems.
If your pet is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the doctors at Banfield offer the following tips:
- Use all medications as prescribed
- Have your pet's thyroid hormone level checked regularly
- Monitor your pet's progress carefully and consult your vet or Banfield doctor if you have any concerns