Why is a Thyroid Gland important?

June 3, 2019


The thyroid gland is located near the trachea (windpipe) and it produces different thyroid hormones including thyroxine (T4) and T3. Thyroid hormones are important for metabolism, growth and development, therefore they affect

* body temperature regulation

* fat metabolism

weight gain and loss

* heart rate 

* reproduction

* growth development in young animals 

* skin health 

* muscle tone 


Did you know that DOGS are more likely to suffer from Hypothyroidism and CATS are more likely to suffer from Hyperthyroidism? 


So what’s the difference?



Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, is usually caused by inflammation or deterioration of the thyroid gland and results in decreased production of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism usually occurs in middle-aged, medium to large breed dogs.



Typical symptoms of hypothyroid dogs include sluggishness, putting on weight but not eating a lot, feel cold easily and tend to seek out warmth, a poor quality coat and hair loss.



Treatment involves oral replacement thyroid hormone medication.



Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland, occurs more commonly in older cats. Feline hyperthyroidism is almost always due to a benign tumour in the thyroid gland, which stimulates the gland to produce too much hormone.



High levels of thyroid hormones create a faster metabolism which shows up in the body as increased hunger, thirst and urination, weight loss despite a good appetite, hyperactivity, unkempt coat and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.



There are several options for treatment available including oral medication, a prescription diet containing a reduced iodine content or a referral for radioactive iodine (I-131) treatment.



How do I know my pet has hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism? If they are showing some of the described symptoms, we may suggest doing some blood tests including a Total T4 level to assess your pets thyroid hormone levels.

Call us on 3208 9233 to make an appointment to get your pet checked out. Our in house blood laboratory can get these results within 10 minutes. 




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