While hypothyroidism is rare in cats, the condition can cause numerous symptoms, including significant weight gain. Here, our the Pacific Northwest vets list some causes of hypothyroidism in cats and symptoms your kitty may have an underactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism in Cats
The hormones produced by your cat's thyroid regulate several processes throughout the body, including metabolic rate. If your kitty is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, this means their thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough of these essential hormones. In contrast, your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism if the thyroid is overactive.
Hypothyroidism in cats is relatively rare — it's much more common for cats to suffer from an overactive thyroid. Usually, hypothyroidism only occurs in cats who have had surgery or oiodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism. Though in some rare cases cancer can cause the condition, iodine deficiency or thyroid gland abnormalities are common culprits.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Cats
As mentioned above, if your cat has hypothyroidism their metabolism will slow due to a lack of essential thyroid hormones. This reduced hormone level can lead your kitty to experience a host of symptoms including:
- Weight gain
- Mental dullness
- Hair loss
- Low body temperature
- Neurological changes
- Intolerance to cold
- Unkept appearance
- Hair matting
Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism
Endocrine disorders, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are often not deadly, and likely manageable and treatable with proper diagnosis and treatment. Many cats diagnosed with hypothyroidism will not require treatment. However, if your cat's symptoms are more severe, synthetic hormone supplements may be prescribed by your vet, and follow-up examinations (which will include blood tests) will be scheduled to monitor your cat's hormone levels.
A modified diet with reduced fat may also be recommended for your kitty while they are recovering from hypothyroidism. Most cats 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.