Recognizing and Managing Hypothyroidism in Your Pet

Recognizing and Managing Hypothyroidism in Your Pet

Like humans, cats and dogs have a butterfly-shaped thyroid gland that produces the hormones responsible for regulating metabolism, the system that converts food into energy. Functioning normally, the thyroid gland releases regulated amounts of various hormones. Any imbalances can lead to a variety of symptoms including changes in behavior, energy, appetite, weight, and appearance.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, causing health problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Decreased hormone levels slow the metabolism’s rate, which can result in symptoms including:
Symptoms vary from pet to pet. If you notice any changes in behavior, appetite, energy, or appearance, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian, as these kinds of changes can signify health problems.

How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

During a veterinary visit, your pet’s veterinarian might suspect a thyroid problem based on your pet’s appearance and the symptoms you describe. Hypothyroidism can be confirmed with a simple diagnostic blood panel that measures and compares the levels of various hormones present in your pet’s bloodstream.

Hypothyroidism Risk Factors and Causes

While cats are rarely diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the condition is fairly common in medium and large-breed dogs. Certain breeds are at a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism such as:
Pets sometimes develop hypothyroidism for no discernible reason. Other times, the condition can be caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis (an immune problem), cancer, or a malformed thyroid gland which would be present at birth.

Hypothyroidism Treatment: Managing Hypothyroidism in Pets

Hypothyroidism cannot be cured, but for most dogs, hypothyroidism is relatively easy to treat and manage with hormone replacement medication that’s administered one or two times each day. Initially, your veterinarian will prescribe your dog a hormone therapy dose based on the hormone levels found in his or her blood panels.
After the initial diagnosis, you will likely be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment, as well. At this time, your veterinarian will talk with you about symptoms, weigh your pet, and run new blood tests to adjust your pet’s dose and medication schedule. Throughout your pet’s life, medication adjustments will be an ongoing process.
To learn more about thyroid replacement medications for dogs and cats or to learn how our VetMedics Compounding Pharmacy can simplify your pet’s hormone replacement therapy, we welcome you to contact us today.

5 Summer Skin Care Tips for Feisty Felines and Cuddly Canines

5 Summer Skin Care Tips for Feisty Felines and Cuddly Canines

You already know that you need sunscreen to protect your skin during summer, but did you realize that there are also special steps you can take to keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy during the hottest months of the year?

Top 5 Summer Skin Care Tips for Pets

1. Sunburn Prevention

You might assume that giving your pet a short haircut for summer will help them beat the heat, but going too short leaves them vulnerable to painful sunburn and skin cancer. Leave at least two inches for sun protection. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian to find out whether your pet has the type of coat that even should be trimmed in the first place. Some breeds have special double coats that are designed to protect them from the heat, and these should never be cut.

2. Guard Against Parasites

Summertime is high-season for parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworm-carrying mosquitos. Protect your pet’s skin and health by making sure your pet has a high-quality parasite preventative.

3. Avoiding Irritation

Swimming in freshwater, saltwater, and swimming pools as well as getting too many baths can all lead to skin irritation in pets. Be sure to rinse your pets after swimming to remove chemicals, bacteria, and salt from their coats, but be careful not to give them too many baths as this can strip the natural oils in their skin and fur.

4. Allergy Awareness

Many pets suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergens come in the form of pollen, mold, and even flea saliva. If your pet’s extra-sensitive to summer allergens, take care to prevent their exposure and to keep their skin and coat free from irritants with plenty of brushing and baths with gentle soap after romping around in the grass.

5. Paw Pad Protection

Whether your pet takes walks on hot cement or plays around the rough edges of a swimming pool, their paw pads are at risk of injury. Be wary of walks during the hottest times of the day and always check the temperature of the pavement with your hand. If your pet’s paws become raw, apply a special paw balm to soothe them and help them heal.

Choose VetMedics Compounding Pharmacy for Your Pet's Skin Care Needs

Whether you’re looking for the perfect parasite prevention, a topical for your pet’s sensitive skin, or a gentle shampoo for a healthy bath time, we’ve got you covered! At VetMedics Compounding Pharmacy in Ronkonkoma, we can help you find the right pet care products and pharmaceuticals to meet all your pet’s unique needs.