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Thyroid Disease in Dogs and Cats

Hello. I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.

Today we’re going to talk about thyroid disease in dogs and cats and we will explain how most of the time dogs have a low thyroid problem or hypothyroidism whereas cats have over active or hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland actually controls our metabolism. It controls the rate of what all our organs function, at everything from the heart, to all the different tissues that are working inside of our body.

So when a dog gets hypothyroidism they will have a whole different set of symptoms then if we see a cat with hyperthyroidism.

The thyroid gland lies in the neck, this (picture) actually shows a hyperthyroid gland, the pink gland, being very enlarged to the neck of this feline patient or this cat.

So when we see that, we will see that the cats will be losing weight, they will have quite a bit of anxiety, they’ll be hyperactive, they might even have symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.

The way that we treat thyroid disease in a feline patient is we have to remove that gland and we can do that in many ways. One: we can go in and surgically remove that, we can also use what they call radioactive iodine. Iodine the mineral that is picked up by the thyroid gland exclusively, so if we give it radioactive form it actually will selectively destroy the thyroid gland. And that's a good thing because it's over active.

Another thing that we can use is a pill called Methtimazole or Capizol is the trade name. And what it does is the actually again works with iodine. It blocks the iodine's uptake into the thyroid gland. So it works by keeping the iodine down and it cannot produce the hormone; they're not hypothyroid any longer.

The thing that's come on the market in the past year and a half or so is a food called Y/D. It's a prescription diet. And again it uses iodine - basically it's so devoid of iodine - it's so low in iodine that the gland won't be able to produce the hormone. So then the cat's not hyperthyroid and the signs start to go away. The cat starts gaining weight, the cat becomes less anxious, less hyperactive and that food is actually working for us very very well. And it's a neat way to treat without having to use surgery or go to a specialist for the iodine.

Now the flip side is our canine patient.

Dogs get hypothyroid. And you're going to see two typical things with that.

One, they're going to gain weight, they're going to be obese even.

And the other one is hair loss. And it's not pulling the hair out per se; the hair is falling out. And there will be bald patches on the tail, over the flank area, and I typically see one or the other. I don't see dogs with hair loss and weight problems; I see one or the other.

This shows a thyroid level that we ran on our dog Cruser. And you can see how this number right here - it shows that it's low. It should be four-point-five; it's one-point-seven. We simply took a blood sample and we then sent that off to this lab and they measure all these thyroid hormones and we found out that that Cruser was low in his thyroid department.

So what we do is we put them on a medication. This is a medication called L-Thyroxine. People konw of this as a medication called Synthyroid, but we use a generic form of this L-Thyroxine. And what this does is it synthtically replaces what our canine patients who are low thyroid aren't producing. So this is an easy fix when a pet has skin issues or weight problems; we will often recommend doing a blood test for the low thyroid. If we find it it's an easy, actually kind of an inexpensive fix.

So again when we look at our patients, we see that our feline patients or cats are being hyperthyroid or over active thyroid and our dogs are low thyroid, or hypothyroid. They're both very very treatable and they're both very easy to treat and it's fairly inexpensive to do so.

Thank you for your time. And my name is Doctor David Roberts. Thanks for tuning in.

Located In Ellisville, MO

We're located just off Manchester Road (Hwy 100)
one mile West of Clarkson Rd.

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