Pet Care Blog

Hypothyroidism - Signs of an Underactive Thyroid in Cats

While the words hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism look similar, and can be confusing, these conditions in cats are very different. Today our Southeast Memphis vets share a little about the symptoms and causes of hypothyroidism in cats.

Your Cat's Thyroid

The thyroid is a gland in your cat's neck that produces a number of hormones which help to regulate many processes in your cat's body, including metabolic rate.

Hypothyroidism VS Hyperthyroidism

If your cat is diagnosed with hypothyroidism it means that their thyroid is underactive, and producing less thyroid hormones than are required for a healthy metabolism. 

On the other hand, if your cat produces too much thyroid hormone, then your kitty is suffering from hyperthyroidism.

While hyperthyroidism is a common condition often seen in older cats, hypothyroidism is relatively rare.

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Cats

Although sometimes caused by cancer, iodine deficiency or congenital disease (thyroid gland abnormalities), hypothyroidism is a rare condition most often seen in cats who have undergone surgery or iodine therapy as treatment for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) .

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Cats

The reduced levels of thyroid hormones seen in cats with hypothyroidism leads to a slowing of the cat's metabolism which can result in one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Cold intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Hair matting
  • Constipation
  • Neurological changes
  • Unkept appearance
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Mental dullness
  • Hair loss / Excessive shedding
  • Inactivity
  • Low body temperature

If your cat is showing any of the signs above contact your vet to book an examination for your feline friend. While the above symptoms can indicate hypothyroidism in cats, they can also be related to a number of other serious conditions which require veterinary attention.

Treatment for Cats with Hypothyroidism

Often no treatment is necessary for cat's with hypothyroidism. However, if your kitty's symptoms are severe your vet may prescribe synthetic hormone supplements, and schedule followup examinations (including blood tests) to monitor your cat's overall health and hormone levels. A modified diet containing reduced fat may also be recommended for your cat while they are recovering.

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.

Could your cat be suffering from hypothyroidism? Contact our Southeast Memphis vets today to book an examination for your kitty. 

Hypothyroidism in cats in Southeast Memphis

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