Cats Can Also Develop Hypothyroidism

Cat
Chris Moorhouse / Getty Images

Red Orbit recently reported on hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid in cats, a health concern which many pet owners may not be aware of. This condition often occurs in humans, but the bad news for felines is that they too can suffer a troublesome thyroid. Fortunately for these furry friends, hypothyroidism is rare for their species. They are also lucky due to the condition being transitory, or short term, which does not necessarily need any sort of intensive treatment.

Most people are aware that thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. The thyroid gland and the hormones it produces are essential for a healthy, properly functioning being. In cats, problems with underactive thyroid tend to occur following any sort of treatment for an overactive thyroid.

It is advisable to take one’s pet feline to a veterinary clinic if he or she begins to exhibit signs that could suggest having either an overactive or an underactive thyroid. These symptoms may be recognizable as weight gain, hair loss around and on the ears, laziness, matted up hair, and a general poor appearance. Cats will also tend to experience constipation if they are dealing with effects of hypothyroidism. Once your cat visits the vet, it is likely that he or she will also have a lower body temperature than is typical, as well as delayed eruption of the teeth.

The clinic will check for abnormal hormone levels and body temperature to diagnose hypothyroidism. Usually oral treatment for the condition is only given to cats dealing with particularly serious symptoms. Fortunately for felines, unlike their human counterparts, the condition is reported as short-lived, usually clearing up within a few weeks.

Cat
  Susan Schiff Faludi / Getty Images

For those concerned about their cat’s health, particularly their thyroid function, supplements are available. Certain foods have also been noted as helpful in maintaining thyroid function. Kelp is a well known and excellent thyroid function booster in both animals and humans, according to Red Orbit, as is calcium.

Calcium is available in powder form, and could be mixed into your pet’s food perhaps more easily than kelp. Lactobacillus probiotics are said to be a good immune system booster as well, which could potentially aid a cat who is suffering from hypothyroidism. These probiotics are best administered in capsule form, according to doctors. This is because the capsules resist stomach acid, only dissolving in the gut, where bacteria are then released.