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Hypothyroidism in Cats

Hypothyroidism is rarely seen in cats but when it does occur it can produce a number of symptoms including noticeable weight gain. Here, our Rabun County vets explain the causes of hypothyroidism in cats and signs that indicate that your cat may have an underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism in Cats

The hormones produced by your cat's thyroid regulate a number of vital processes in his body, including metabolic rate. If your cat has hypothyroidism, it means that its thyroid gland is underactive and isn't producing enough of the hormones it needs to stay healthy. If your cat's thyroid is overactive, he or she has hyperthyroidism, which is more common in older cats.

In most cases, hypothyroidism occurs in cats who have undergone surgery or iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism. That said, in some rare cases the condition may be caused by cancer, iodine deficiency, or thyroid gland abnormalities.

Signs of Hypothyroidism in Cats

As mentioned above, if your kitty has hypothyroidism its metabolism will slow due to a lack of essential thyroid hormones. This reduced hormone level can result in a host of symptoms including:

  • Weakness
  • Intolerance to cold 
  • Constipation
  • Hair matting
  • Neurological changes
  • Unkept appearance
  • Hair loss
  • Weight Gain
  • Lethargy
  • Mental dullness
  • Low body temperature
  • Inactivity

Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism

The vast majority of hypothyroid cats will not require treatment. If your pet's symptoms are severe, your vet may prescribe synthetic hormone supplements, and follow-up blood tests will be scheduled to monitor your cat's hormone levels.

A modified diet with reduced fat may also be recommended for your cat while they are recovering from hypothyroidism. Cats typically recover well from hypothyroidism, with a notable improvement in their health seen in just a short amount of time.

If effectively managed, the life expectancy of cats with hyperthyroidism is good. Cats can live for many years with a very good quality of life. If untreated, this disease will cause uncontrolled weight loss, severe heart disease, and eventually death.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you suspect your cat may have hyperthyroidism, contact our Rabun County vets right away.

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Rabun Animal Hospital is currently accepting new patients! Our wonderful veterinarians are dedicated to the health and happiness of Rabun County dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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