Hypothyroidism is rarely seen in cats but when it does occur it can produce several symptoms including noticeable weight gain. Here, our Benicia 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
Several essential processes in your cat's body, including metabolic rate, are regulated by the hormones produced by your cat's thyroid. If your kitty is diagnosed with hypothyroidism it means that its thyroid gland is underactive and failing to produce enough of the hormones required for your cat to stay healthy. Conversely, if your cat's thyroid is overactive your kitty is suffering from hyperthyroidism, which is often seen 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 metabolism will slow due to a lack of essential thyroid hormones. This reduced hormone level can result in a host of symptoms including:
- Intolerance of cold
- Hair matting
- Neurological changes
- Unkept appearance
- Hair loss
- Weight Gain
- Mental dullness
- Low body temperature
Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism
The majority of cats diagnosed with hypothyroidism will not require treatment. However, if your pet's symptoms are more severe, synthetic hormone supplements may be prescribed by your vet, 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.
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.