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Hypothyroidism in Cats - A Pet Parent's Guide

Although hypothyroidism is rare in cats when it does occur it may trigger noticeable weight gain for your kitty. Today, our Seattle vets explain the causes of hypothyroidism in cats and other symptoms that could be a sign that your cat has an underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism in Cats

A number of essential processes in your cat's body, including their metabolic rate, are regulated by the hormones produced by your cat's thyroid. If your feline family member is diagnosed with hypothyroidism it means that their thyroid gland is underactive and failing to produce enough of the hormones required to normally regulate their metabolism and keep your kitty healthy.

Conversely, if your cat's thyroid is overactive your kitty is suffering from hyperthyroidism, which is much more common in cats, particularly once they pass middle age.

Hypothyroidism generally only occurs in cats who have undergone surgery or iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism. That said, in some very rare cases the condition may be caused by cancer, iodine deficiency or thyroid gland abnormalities.

Signs of Hypothyroidism in Cats

If your kitty has hypothyroidism their metabolism will slow due to a lack of essential thyroid hormones. This reduced hormone level can result in a number of symptoms including:

  • Weakness
  • Intolerance to cold 
  • Constipation
  • Hair matting
  • Neurological changes
  • Unkept appearance
  • Hair loss
  • Weight Gain
  • Lethargy
  • Mental dullness
  • Low body temperature
  • Inactivity

Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism

In most cases, 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 in order 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 generally recover well from hypothyroidism, with a notable improvement in their health seen in just a short amount of time.

Hypothyroidism in Cats - Life Expectancy

Cats typically recover well and quickly from this rare condition. Provided your cat has no underlying health concerns, in most cases, your cat's life expectancy will remain unchanged by this condition.

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 showing symptoms of hypothyroidism? Contact our Seattle vets today to schedule an appointment for your kitty. 

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