Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.
The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction. Hormones are dispersed to different areas of the body, depending on the hormone’s function. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (by a tumour or autoimmune disease, for instance), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormone, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone. Treatment varies depending on the disease.
Common endocrine disorders
There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:
Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin and is common in both dogs and cats.
Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.
The Martensville Veterinary Hospital offers testing of blood chemistry to evaluate electrolyte levels (that may be affected by hormone imbalances), as well as measurement of the levels of circulating hormones. We can also perform blood glucose curves, which is a method for determining how much insulin a diabetic pet will need. Our friendly staff will also teach you to administer insulin and hormone medications at home.
Contact us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss or dull coat), or shows any changes in behaviour, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.