What You Need To Know About Hyperthyroidism And How It Affects Your Pet

hypothyroidism and your dog

Among the most commonly affected pets with hyperthyroidism include cats and dogs. The thyroid glands are among the most important organs in the body. As an animal lover, you need to be on your toes in noticing some of the changes that might suggest that your pet is ailing from hyperthyroidism. This is because, and this something that most pet owners are not aware of, hyperthyroidism is common in animals and the best that you can do is help your animal friend to recover in time before the condition worsens. 

What is hyperthyroidism?

The thyroid glands play a crucial if not a major role in metabolism. The thyroid gland is also involved with other important bodily functions including healthy growth and development. Depending on the bodily needs of an animal, the thyroid gland will produce only enough hormones required for specific functions. This tells you that the brain, through the pituitary gland, is also involved in the process and plays a huge role in the number of hormones released in the body. The release of the thyroid gland hormones causes the following effects to the body: 

  • An increase in body temperature
  • A stronger heartbeat that results in an increase in blood flow
  • Brings about brain development and brain maturity
  • Promotes growth
  • Activation of the nervous system

As you can see, these are all crucial body functions and without them, it can be hard for any animal species to reach its maximum potential. There are, however, ways, some of which will be discussed later, that can help to stabilize the production of thyroid hormones in pets and as you read more here, you’ll realize that the foods you feed your pet can and will play a part in not only boosting their health but also in alleviating the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. 

How Hyperthyroidism Affects Your Pet

As cats and dogs get older, they become less active. Additionally, they will eat less, become lethargic, needy, withdrawn, incontinent, and have an unusual sleep cycle. Now, these aging signs can often be mistaken for hyperthyroidism which makes it important that whenever your pet shows symptoms that you cannot figure out, to check in with a qualified vet. Below are the various ways hyperthyroidism can affect your pet: 

Too Much Thyroid Hormone

  • Weight loss despite a good appetite and the provision of a good diet
  • Hyperactivity
  • A higher heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

Too Little Thyroid Hormone

  • Intolerance to cold
  • Loss of hair
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Skin infections

Causes Of Hyperthyroidism

There are several causes of hyperthyroidism in pets. Now, and as you’ll find out, some of these will be as a result of a bad diet or medication. It’s imperative that you make decisive action in regards to the pointers below, all with the best interests of your pet. Here are the causes of hyperthyroidism:

  • Using the wrong medication – In most cases, hyperthyroidism will be treated by the use of different types of medication. For instance, thyroxine, commonly found in most hypothyroid medication, when given in higher doses, can overcorrect low thyroxine levels and as a result, cause hyperthyroidism. 
  • Diet – Certain foods such as raw meat diets may contain excess thyroid hormones. Such might include head meats or gullets. 
  • Overfunctioning thyroid gland – This might cause excessive production of thyroid hormones 

dog and hypothyroidism

Pet Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis

As the condition progresses, the thyroid gland can show signs of palpitation, which can only be diagnosed by taking your pet to a medical exam from a qualified vet. This will be the preliminary diagnosis in detecting hyperthyroidism. Other tests to help zero in on the problem may include thoracic radiographs or a thyroid gland scintigraphy to mention but a few. It cannot be reiterated enough on the importance of taking your pet to a qualified vet as it might be the only link in detecting serious problems with your pet before any condition worsens. 


Treatment options for hyperthyroidism will differ depending on various factors such as the severity of the condition, pet species, and breed of pet. Among the treatment options available today include: 

  • Medication 
  • Surgical removal of the thyroid gland
  • Radioactive therapy in removing tumors from the thyroid gland

Despite hyperthyroidism being a serious condition, there are still ways to treat and manage the condition. Managing the condition can also be done by giving your pet specific prescribed diets. This will ensure that they grow up healthy and strong. Most importantly, provide your pet with their basic needs to ensure that they are not only comfortable but also to feel loved. 

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