Although rare in cats, hypothyroidism can produce a number of symptoms including noticeable weight gain. In today's post, our PetVet Care Centers member vets share some of the causes of hypothyroidism in cats and symptoms that may indicate that your cat has an underactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism in Cats
Many processes in your cat's body, including metabolic rate, are regulated by the hormones produced by your cat's thyroid. If your feline friend is diagnosed with hypothyroidism it means that their thyroid gland is underactive and failing to produce enough of these essential hormones. Conversely, if your cat's thyroid is overactive your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism.
While it is much more common for cats to suffer from an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), hypothyroidism is relatively rare.
Typically hypothyroidism only occurs in cats who have undergone surgery or iodine therapy to treat hyperthyroidism. Although, in some rare cases the condition may be caused by cancer, iodine deficiency or thyroid gland abnormalities.
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:
- Intolerance to cold
- Hair matting
- Neurological changes
- Unkept appearance
- Weight Gain
- Mental dullness
- Hair loss
- Low body temperature
Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism
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.