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Thyroid Health in Dogs and Cats

Thyroid Health in Dogs and Cats

Herbal remedies to help support thyroid health and which may help relieve thyroid problems in dogs and cats. 

Natura Petz Organics supplements for thyroid health in dog and cats and thyroid disorders in dogs and cats

The endocrine system interacts with every organ, tissue, cell and system in the animal body, so maintaining adrenal and thyroid gland health and production plays a major role in supporting balanced endocrine function. Critical trace nutrient are required by dogs and cats to be able to support healthy hormone and gland function. When the glands become stressed and fatigued, the dysfunction can also negatively affect the liver, duodenum and kidneys as well as the immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems

The thyroid gland consists of two small lobes shaped like butterflies with one each side of the windpipe (trachea) located in the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The primary function of these hormones regulates and maintains your pet’s metabolic rate which in turn affects their overall health and wellness, including cellular health throughout the body. In cases of hypothyroidism, an interruption occurs in the normal production of T3 and T4 hormones. 

Another hormone called the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland and controls the production of the thyroid hormones. If the thyroid does not function properly, it tends to result in negative effects to your pet's weight, heart rate, skin and coat, and digestive and reproductive health.

Hypothyroidism more commonly affects dogs than cats, but can affect both. When hypothyroidism occurs, the thyroid gland under performs, or becomes under active, failing to produce sufficient thyroid hormones that are critical to organs, systems and cells required by the body. The exact cause of hypothyroidism is unknown but it may be related to an auto-immune response in which a dog's or cat's immune system attacks and kills thyroid cell glands. 

There are two types of thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism:

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism more commonly affects dogs than cats, but can affect both. When hypothyroidism occurs, the thyroid gland under performs, or becomes under active, failing to produce sufficient thyroid hormones that are critical to organs, systems and cells required by the body. The exact cause of hypothyroidism is unknown but it may be related to an auto-immune response in which a dog's or cat's immune system attacks and kills thyroid cell glands.

Certain dog breeds seem to be more predisposed to hypothyroidism than others, including Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels and Airedale Terriers. 

Hypothyroidism usually develops in dogs between the ages of 4 and 10 years old. Female unspayed dogs tend to be more affected, although it occurs in both males and females. There is no cure for hypothyroidism but with supplements, exercise and proper diet, pets can continue to enjoy good quality of life and management of symptoms, and potentially, to limit the progression of symptoms.  

The common symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism include:

Enlarged thyroid gland to the touch

Weight gain

Obesity

Lethargy

Low energy levels

Dry skin

Hair loss

Constipation

Slow heart rate

Anemia

Intolerance to cold

High blood cholesterol

Infertility

Seizures

Behavioral changes

Anxiety

Depression

Hperactivity

Unfocused behavior

Passive behavior 

The diagnosis of a hypothyroidism is based on the symptoms, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Certain tests such as a Baseline T4 Test, Baseline T3 Test, or TSH Stimulation Test will be performed if hypothyroidism is suspected. Your vet will choose the test most suited for your dog’s symptoms. Generally, the TSH Stimulation Test will reveal whether your dog has a low T4 or T3 level.

Hyperthyroidism

When hyperthyroidism occurs, the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones, speeding up metabolism. As a result, excess cortisol builds in the blood for an extended period of time. In normal amounts, cortisol helps the body perform a number of important functions including converting fat into energy, maintaining immune system function, and responding to stress. In excess, cortisol becomes destructive.

The thyroid produces hormones, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The primary function of these hormones is to regulate and maintain your pet’s metabolic rate, which in turn affects their overall health and wellbeing. Another hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which is produced by the pituitary gland, controls the production of the thyroid hormones.

When the thyroid gland is overactive, several parts of the body may not function properly, and your pet may experience drastic weight loss, appetite increase, an elevated heart rate, increased activity or poor skin and coat condition.

Hyperthyroidism typically affects middle-aged to old cats (between 4 and 22 years of age). Hyperthyroidism in dogs is rare. It is caused by a benign increase in the number of thyroid cells produced but immunological, environmental and nutritional factors may also contribute to this disorder.

The common symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism include:

Weight loss even with an increased appetite

Diarrhea

Vomiting

Intolerance to heat

Dull, dry or oily coat with excessive shedding

Anxiety

Nervousness

Restlessness

Depression

Hypersensitivity

Hyperactivity

Stress

Rapid/fast breathing

Increased water consumption accompanied by urination

Increased or decreased activity

Tremors

Helpful suggestions:

Feed your pet a premium, holistic, raw and well balanced home cooked diet that contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, free of corn, wheat, soy and inferior proteins and chemical additives.   

Ensure that your pet gets regular exercise.

Boost your dog or cat’s immune system with immune-boosting supplements. Hypothyroidism is an auto immune mediated failure disease, so adding in an immune balancing adaptogenic herb may help address symptoms and may even help slow progression.

Take your pet to the vet for annual check-ups and monitor any abnormal physical and behavioral changes.

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies are used to help promote and maintain adrenal health in your animal, to help improve thyroid functioning and symptoms associated with thyroid problems, to help balance an overactive thyroid by providing, to help provide hormonal balance, to soothe the thyroid, heart & endocrine systems, to help maintain normal natural steroid, fluid and electrolyte levels, to help strengthen your pet’s immune, to help maintain body temperature, metabolism, fertility, and growth and to help support the endocrine system and normal thyroid function.

I AM A ROCK STAR - (learn more) helps to support and nourish the endocrine system; helps support adrenal and thyroid gland health and response to stress and metabolic demand, helps support proper HPA (Hypothalmic Pituitary and Adrenal) gland function, helps support glandular ability to rebuild and regenerate, helps promote hormonal balance, helps regulate stress on liver, kidney and digestive functions by reducing thirst and excessive elimination, may help promote cognitive function and memory performance, may help balance blood sugar levels, may lend support to the pancreas in cases of dysfunction; for natural energy in all life stages of pets, but especially adult, senior and convalescing dogs and cats, may help increase muscle use, ability and stamina, helps provide anti-inflammatory and immune support, and may help maintain overall healthy adrenal, central nervous, digestive, immune and reproductive systems.

Dog & Cat Kryptonite– (learn more) helps support hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) function, helps enable the body to respond normally to stress and metabolic demands while supporting the glands' ability to rebuild and regenerate, may help support healthy energy levels and vitality, helps promote cognitive (brain) function and memory performance and contains critical trace nutrients and antioxidants which may be important preventatives for cognitive decline; may be especially useful for lethargic, aging or convalescing animals due to its amino acid and protein converting phytochemical content, may help regulate the organs which secrete hormones, including the pituitary, parotid, thyroid and adrenal glands, the pancreas, and the testes; may stimulate the hypothalamus and thyroid glands when underperforming; may help support overall systemic endocrine function, including its impact on the central nervous, digestive, immune and reproductive systems; for its support of cognitive (brain) function, particularly in degenerative conditions.

I Feel Good –  (learn more) contains plant based adaptogens, which helps nutritionally tone the animal body, helps boost or balance immunity as needed, including soothing an over-stimulated immune system or boosting an under- performing immune system, helps to reduce all forms of system-wise metabolic and oxidative stress that undermine immunity; helps support water regulation and fluid balance in the body; helps reduce all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy) and fever; for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobilityreduces all types of inflammation, particularly from the heart to brain; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function plus much more. Recognized as one of the most important medicinal plants in the world, particularly related to supporting balanced immunity and limiting inflammation and inflammatory conditions.

Gland Candy - (learn more) contains healthy fatty Omega 3 acids used to support healthy body weight, used in the treatment of skin conditions and to promote healthy skin and coat, to support and tone the lymphatic system, to balance glandular activities including the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, including T3 and T4 production, to support and maintain healthy thyroid function and to soothe the thyroid and endocrine system, for allergies, alopecia, allergic dermatitis, moist dermatitis (hot spots), to stimulate tissue repair and for all types of arthritis.

Yelp for Kelp - (learn more) provides critical vitamins, amino and fatty acids and trace macro and micronutrient support for the endocrine system, to energize the body, for building and toning enzymes, tissues, hormones and bones, for enhancing natural cleansing and detoxification, to help nutritionally support a balanced immune system; to help support healthy skin and coat;  to help balance digestion; as an osteoporosis preventative, to promote immunity and for metabolic disorders, including the thyroid gland and other glands and tissues that affect the thyroid, for thyroid disorders, to cleanse the lymphatic system, to maintain healthy levels of TSH, T3 and T4, and for metabolic disorders.

Conventional Remedies:

The diagnosis of a thyroid problem is based on the symptoms, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Certain tests such as a Baseline T4 Test, Baseline T3 Test, or TSH Stimulation Test will be performed if hypothyroidism is suspected. Your vet will choose the test most suited for your dog’s symptoms.

Generally, the TSH Stimulation Test will reveal whether your dog has a low T4 or T3 level. If hyperthyroidism is suspected, the diagnosis is based on the symptoms presented, enlarged thyroid gland (large enough that it can be felt), and high T4 levels.

Tests such as a CBC, serum chemistry, and urinalysis are performed if symptoms of other diseases such as kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes mellitus or heart disease are present with hyperthyroidism. In addition, tests such as the T3 suppression test, measurement of free T4 and thyrotropin-releasing hormone stimulation test may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism.

Your vet may recommend the following standard treatments for hyperthyroidism in felines and these include radioactive iodine (I-131), anti-thyroid medication such as methimazole (tapazole) or surgery (thyroidectomy). These treatments have some adverse side effects such as liver damage, anemia, hair loss and lethargy, and cats with this problem should be kept away from pregnant women and children.

Treatment of hypothyroidism in dogs involves a daily dose of synthetic T4 hormone known as thyroxine (levothyroxine). Thereafter, follow-up blood tests will be taken in about six weeks to ascertain whether there is any improvement. This is life-long therapy but dogs usually go on to enjoy good health for the rest of their lives.

 

 

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