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Can cats get hypothyroidism?

The words hyperthyroidism in cats and hypothyroidism in cats look and sound very similar, but as our Huntsville vets explain below, these conditions are very different from each other. Read on to learn what the differences are.

How Your Cat's Thyroid Affects Their Health

The thyroid is a gland in your cat's neck that produces a number of hormones that help to regulate many processes in your cat's body, including metabolic rate.

Hypothyroidism in Cats vs Hyperthyroidism

If your feline friend is diagnosed with hypothyroidism it means that their thyroid is underactive, and producing fewer thyroid hormones than are required for a healthy metabolism. 

Alternatively, if your cat produces too much thyroid hormone, then your kitty is suffering from hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism (the latter condition) is a common condition seen in senior cats, whereas hypothyroidism is very rare.

Possible Causes of Hypothyroidism in Cats

While hypothyroidism can in rare cases be caused by cancer, iodine deficiency or congenital disease (thyroid gland abnormalities), this condition is most often seen in cats who have undergone surgery or iodine therapy as treatment for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) .

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Cats

The reduced levels of thyroid hormones seen in cats with hypothyroidism result in a slowing of the cat's metabolism which can lead to the following symptoms: 

  • Cold intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Hair matting
  • Constipation
  • Neurological changes
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Mental dullness
  • Hair loss / Excessive shedding
  • Inactivity
  • Low body temperature

If you notice that your cat is displaying any of the symptoms listed above it's important to contact your vet to book an examination for your kitty. While these symptoms can indicate hypothyroidism in cats, they can also be related to a number of other serious conditions which require veterinary attention.

Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism

In many cases no treatment is required for cat's with hypothyroidism. However, if your cat's symptoms are severe your vet may prescribe synthetic hormone supplements, and schedule follow-up examinations (including blood tests) to monitor your cat's overall health and hormone levels. A modified diet containing reduced fat may also be recommended for your cat while they are recovering.

Most cats recover well from hypothyroidism, with a notable improvement in their health seen in just a short amount of time.

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.

Is your cat gaining weight and you aren't sure why? Our Huntsville vets are here to help. Contact Whitesburg Animal Hospital today to book an appointment for your feline friend.

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Whitesburg Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Huntsville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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