Your cat’s thyroid gland is mainly responsible for regulating metabolism. Feline hypothyroidism results when this gland becomes underactive and causes metabolism to decrease. This is a relatively rare condition.
Ironically, the main cause of hypothyroidism in cats is treatment for hyperthyroidism. By treating the overactive gland too well, it may become underactive. Another cause of this disease is a lack of iodine in the diet.
Feline hypothyroidism can cause problems with different areas of the body. Some of the most common symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, constipation, and weight gain. It is also common for your cat’s hair to change such as becoming thinner or drier. The heart can also be affected resulting in a slower heartbeat.
It is quite easy to diagnose hypothyroidism in felines. Your vet will perform one of several blood tests to check for the level of thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, hypothyroidism is the likely culprit. He may also palpate the gland to feel for a mass.
Treatment for this condition is very straightforward. Your cat will need to take supplemental hormone medications. You will need to give him these pills orally one or two times everyday.
It’s important that the veterinarian prescribe the dosage correctly based on your cat’s weight. Feline hypothyroidism won’t be treated if the dosage is too low. Hyperthyroidism will result if too much medication is given. Thyroid hormone levels will need to be checked regularly until the correct dosage is determined.