Hormonal Problems

Hormone Problems in Pets

Cats and Dogs, like humans, have a range of hormones that help regulate their mood, appetite, energy and a variety of other things relevant to everyday life. Sometimes your furry friend may not be acting like themselves.

They may seem overly thirsty or they may seem to be urinating more frequently. They may even be experiencing reoccurring vomiting or diarrhea. Sometimes, they may experience periods of weakness and even depression. These symptoms are commonly associated with a hormone imbalance; however, the experienced staff at AMC will take the proper steps to ensure your pup or kitty are back to full health in no time.

Adrenal Gland Disorders

A disorder known as Addison’s Disease is often the culprit responsible for your pet’s change in mood or behavior. Addison’s Disease is a disorder of the adrenal glands in which adrenal hormone production is insufficient.  The condition may result from damage to the glands by infection, cancer or drugs, or the cause may not be known. Pituitary gland disease may also cause adrenal insufficiency.

Insufficient adrenal hormones can upset the body’s conservation of sodium (salt), reduce circulating blood volume, impair heart and kidney function, damage the heart muscle, and cause faulty sugar and fat metabolism. Decreased tolerance of stress is the primary characteristic of Addison’s Disease, and affected pets are often presented in a shock-like state of collapse called an Addisonian crisis. Extensive blood and adrenal function tests are necessary to properly diagnose and plan treatment for Addison’s Disease.

Another potential culprit found in dogs is Cushing’s Disease. Cushing’s Disease is characterized by the overproduction of certain hormones by the adrenal glands. It is also known as hyperadrenocorticism and can be caused by tumors in the Adrenal glands and the Pituitary glands. Only a qualified veterinarian can diagnose and develop suitable treatment options for Cushing’s Disease.


In Dogs

Diabetes in dogs is very similar to diabetes in humans. The glucose in your dogs system cannot be normalized and requires insulin in order for it to be regulated properly. If this does not occur, the dog will experience a severe lack in energy and if left untreated long enough, may be fatal. Depending upon the severity of the condition, a variety of treatments may necessary. The most important treatment; however, is consistency. Consistent feeding times, meal portions, and medication administration will help keep your pup stable and stress-free. As always, your veterinarian is the best source of information regarding canine diabetes. If you notice a significant change in your dog’s behavior, appetite, or level of energy, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately.

In Cats

The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes in cats is very similar to their canine counterparts. If you are concerned that your cat may have diabetes, please see your veterinarian immediately. The AMC staff is dedicated to helping your diabetic kitty have the most comfortable, normal life possible.


In Dogs

The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the rate of metabolism, and when it is functioning at a rate less than normal it is known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is typically caused by one of two diseases: lymphocytic thyroiditis or idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy. Rarely, it may be caused by cancer of the thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism affects nearly every organ in the body. The resulting symptoms include weight gain without an increase in appetite, lethargy, excessive shedding, high blood cholesterol, cold intolerance, and an increased susceptibility to skin and ear infections.

Your veterinarian will likely administer a T4 test to measure the levels of the main thyroid hormone to determine whether or not your pup may be experiencing hypothyroidism. Additional testing may be necessary. While this disorder is treatable, it is not curable. A replacement thyroid hormone must be administered for the remainder of the dog’s life. However, if treated properly, there is no reason your pup can’t live a normal, happy life.



In Cats

Contrary to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is characterized by an over active thyroid gland resulting in an increased metabolic rate. This disorder is common in older cats. The heart is the organ that is most affected by this disease as it is over stimulated causing blood to be pumped faster and more forcefully resulting in increased blood pressure. An increased metabolic rate and a decrease in your cat’s weight (even with an increased appetite) are common signs of hyperthyroidism. Excessive intake of water and urination are also indicators.

Your veterinarian will take special care in diagnosing your kitty. There are a variety of ways to treat this disease, including Radioiodine Therapy medication, surgery or prescription diets. Your veterinarian will discuss the pros and cons of each treatment and help you make the best choice for your cat. While there are  no known preventative measures, regular visits to the vet especially with old age will help keep your cat in the best shape possible.