Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Protecting Your Pet: Thyroid Problems
Did you know that thyroid disease is just as common among animals as people? It can have the same devastating effects but is also easily treated. Health Specialist Marilyn Mitzel shows us the warning signs and what must be done to protect your pet.
WSVN---Carolyn and Muffy are quite a pair. So when Muffy wasn't acting like herself, Carolyn knew something was wrong.
Dog owner Carolyn Blair:"She didn't want to play anymore, she was very sleepy, she didn't want to go outside, she drank lots of water. She didn't eat a whole lot but she was gaining weight."
A simple blood test detected Muffy's problem.
Carolyn:"And then it clicked. Some of those same symptoms I did have."
Like mother like pup. Carolyn and Muffy both have hypothyroidism.
Dr. Steven Paul, Wiles Road Animal Hospital: "I kid a lot of my clients when they say they have it and their dog has it, it's genetic in the family."
Simply put, the body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone.
Dr. Steven Paul:"It's so subtle many people don't see the signs."
They also include darkened and flaking skin, fur loss and sadness.
Dr. Steven Paul:"Thyroid hormone regulates most every cell in our body and because of that it can effect a great many different systems, including your skin, your eyes, your nervous system.
If you don't treat it, it can affect a lot of organ systems, it can cause a slowness of the heart it can affect the ability for the animal to walk."
While hypo-thyroidism is common in dogs. Cats are more prone to hyper-thyroidism. The gland is overactive. That's why animals should be screened for it annually once they hit middle age.
Dr.Steven Paul:"Hyperthyroidism can be life threatening."
Dr. Steven Paul: "It can stimulate the heart to run much faster than it should causing abnormal rhythms of the heart."
Warning signs include weight loss, irritability, increased appetite, vomiting and a dull coat.
Both hyper and hypo - thyroidism are easily treated with medication to regulate the thyroid hormone.
In rare cases, surgery or radioactive therapy is necessary to remove or destroy the thyroid.
Muffy takes a pill twice a day and is back to her old self.
Carolyn:"I could tell she was perking up."
And her old tricks.
Carolyn:"She eats regularly, lost three pounds she likes to go outside, she likes to play. She's doing great."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
DR. STEPHEN PAUL