Aging cats and dogs are more susceptible to problems related to their thyroid gland. This gland is located in the neck and is responsible for the production of thyroid hormones that help regulate metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism, meaning excessive production of thyroid hormones, is a frequent condition of cats of 10 years of age or older. Clinical signs of this disease include: increase water intake, vomiting, diarrhea, increase appetite, weight loss and hyperactivity, which can present as excessive meowing or aggression. Your veterinarian can often identify this condition by observing a thyroid gland of increased size, a heart murmur, weight loss or lack luster in their coat. To help confirm the diagnosis, blood work, urinalysis and blood pressure measurement. Cats affected by this disease require lifelong treatment in the form of a diet, pills or a topical cream. They need to be followed closely by a veterinarian for an optimal control of their condition. Finally, a cat affected by this disease, if treated appropriately, can live a long and normal life.
Hypothyroidism is a problem that is more frequent in dogs. Unlike hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. A dog affected by this disease can be less active, gain weight easily, have a dull coat and skin problems characterized by dander, infection or absence of hair growth after it has been trimmed. Your veterinarian can often identify this condition by observing these signs and by measuring the level of thyroid hormones. This condition can be treated by supplementing hormones, usually in the form of pills. Just like cats, hormone levels must be closely monitored to ensure that the dosage of the supplement is appropriate. Treatment usually improves the dog’s condition under a week. A dog affected by this disease, if treated appropriately, can live a long and normal life.
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