It is not easy to determine how thyroid issues begin, or what causes hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in a pet. Though both cats and dogs can struggle with either overproducing or under-producing the thyroid hormone, it is more common for them have hypothyroidism issues. However, when the cat or dog is diagnosed, ignoring the issue could be very dangerous for the animal. Here are some of the ways the vet will advise you to treat this condition and help prevent it in the future.
Treatments for Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism: Since this ailment is caused by a lack of hormone secretion in the pet’s body, vets will generally prescribe a hormone replacement treatment. Synthetic supplements (like levothyroxine) help regulate the body’s hormone levels when the thyroid fails to perform as designed. Dogs and cats usually take this orally through a pill or liquid between meals to maximize absorption and efficacy. Some pet owners have found this to be especially effective when given to the pet in two daily installments, rather than in one strong dose. If you are instructed to give this medication to your pet, be sure that you follow exact instructions on the portions as over-feeding could actually swing the pendulum the opposite direction, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism: For an overactive thyroid, the treatment options are a bit more extreme. The vet might prescribe anything from anti-thyroid medications, to radioactive iodine, to radiotherapy, or even chemotherapy. They will also most likely be tested for any developing tumors, so that the skin tissue growth can be monitored as well. While such treatments can be expensive, time-consuming and physically taxing for the animal, they generally prove to be an effective way to moderate hormone secretion in the body. Fortunately, because this scenario is less common, it is unlikely that your pet will have to decide between these treatment options.
Tumors: If the dog or cat is found to have a tumor, there are several deciding facts that will influence what method of treatment or extraction may occur. The status (whether malignant or benign), the size of the tumor, and its location (gauged on the distance to any arteries or organs) will determine what course of action to take. The tumor could be surgically removed, medically treated, or attacked through radiation and chemotherapy.
Not two pets are alike, so the likelihood that your pet will have a thyroid problem is difficult to predict based on lifestyle and genetics alone. Though thyroid dysfunctions are hard to prevent, they are treatable once diagnosed. If your cat or dog is exhibiting any of the tell-tale symptoms, set up an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to find out how best to treat the issue.