To be skinny despite continuously eating, is that not the dream for a lot of people? Unfortunately for our furry friends it can be a sign of something more sinister lurking beneath the surface – hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease that we mostly see in cats over the age of 10, although it can happen at any age, to any animal. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland, which lies at the front of the neck, becomes overactive and produces too much hormone. The jury is currently still out as to a specific cause for this overactivity of the thyroid gland but many factors are implicated including diet and environment as well as cancer. Normally this hormone controls the metabolism, along with many other things including heart rate and brain function.
The classical appearance of a cat affected by hyperthyroidism is one that is losing weight, eating more than normal and slightly (if not completely!) hyperactive. They also often have a poorer hair coat than normal and drink lots of water.
Occasionally, hyperthyroidism can be hiding other diseases as well. Thyroid hormone is actually directly toxic to some tissues within the body and so you can imagine that when it is present in such high amounts, we are often able to see this damage. Two of the most common issues are heart and kidney problems. Cats with diagnosed hyperthyroidism are more likely to be affected by kidney failure, but because the heart rate and strength is increased so much by the increased thyroid hormone, the kidney issues are able to hide beneath a greatly increased blood pressure.
This becomes an issue when we start treating the animal and reducing the thyroid hormone, as the kidney disease can become apparent at this point. This is a major reason why we need to continue monitoring with specific blood tests well after diagnosis and during ongoing treatment.
We diagnose this disease by taking a blood test to measure the level of the hormone in the blood. At this stage, because of the issues mentioned above, we will often do a screen of how the other internal organs are working to try to spot any damage early.
Once diagnosed, there are various treatment options including tablets and topical ointments. Another method is that because the thyroid hormone is made using iodine, we can reduce the intake of iodine with prescription foods.
If you’re worried that your previously loving, easily kept kitty is now feisty and skinny, then it might be well worth a visit to your local clinic!
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: What is this disease we are talking about, that in some cases, you may not even know is happening in your own dog until she becomes very sick and compromisedâ€¦.
Pyometra (pyo) is effectively a pus filled uterus that can develop in an ovary intact bitch.
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: Much like the human population, companion animals are becoming increasingly overweight. In New Zealand the statistics are alarmingly high and a significant proportion of the patients we see on a day to day basis are overweight.
Read more >Friday 30th of August 2019: Middle aged to older cats can suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). It occurs when a cat's arterial blood pressure is continually higher than normal. This can be the result of worsening renal function or hyperthyroidism (elevation in thyroid hormone) but mostly we just don't know why it happens.
Read more >Tuesday 27th of August 2019: The most common form of Rat Poison used is one that contains a warfarin type anti-coagulant compound, which causes fatal haemorrhage in the rat, or a dog, about 5-10 days after ingestion.
Read more >Tuesday 27th of August 2019: There comes a time, where all good things must come to an end....talk about a grim start to an article, but what I am wanting to talk about, is how we don't want those good things to come to a grim end.
Read more >Tuesday 27th of August 2019: What is this disease we are talking about, that in some cases, you may not even know is happening in your own dog until she becomes very sick and compromised......
Pyometra (pyo) is effectively a pus filled uterus that can develop in an ovary intact bitch.
Read more >Tuesday 27th of August 2019: In our working dogs and pet animals it is relatively common for owners to routinely spot the lameness, the wound or the upset guts, but what about those hidden pearly whites??
How often do we really take the time to lift the lips and have a look at our dogs' eating utensils? A fork won't work without its teeth and neither will a knife without its blade. The same applies to our dogs' mouths.
Read more >Tuesday 27th of August 2019: The most common eye condition dogs present with at the clinic is squinting and almost 95% of the time the underlying reason for this is corneal ulceration.
Corneal ulceration is a defect in the thin, outer most layer of the eye called the cornea. To simply put it, it is very similar to a graze on your skin. This wound can be caused by different things for example; a stick poking into the eye, foreign bodies like barley grass, sand, cat claw grazing the eye and several more of which some can be very complicated.
Read more >Thursday 18th of July 2019: During April 2019, Louisa visited an interesting case in the Wairarapa.
The ownerâ€™s 5 year old dressage mare had recently had treatment for an orthopaedic problem and was being returned to ridden work. The owner noticed that she was behaving oddly â€“ perhaps a case of too much grass and not enough work?
Read more >Thursday 18th of July 2019: Wolf teeth are technically known as the first premolar teeth in horses. They usually erupt into the mouth at between five and twelve months of age, but do not continue to grow or erupt into the mouth as do the rest of the cheek teeth. It has been estimated that approximately seventy percent of horses will develop wolf teeth.
Read more >Thursday 18th of July 2019: This is the name given not to "affectionate backs" but to over-riding or impinging of the dorsal spinous processes of the vertebrae commonly in thoracic [chest] or lumbar [lower back] region of the horse.
Often it is in the region of wither or saddle and can be associated with a poor saddle fit or trauma/damage often from as far back as when the horse was being broken in or weaning. Horses that rear up and over backwards and land on their withers is a common "accident" that can cause injury in this area. Sometimes we'll never know the cause.
Read more >Thursday 18th of July 2019: Vaccination provides your horse with important protection against some serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines act to stimulate the body's natural response to a disease, allowing a rapid and effective response if that disease is encountered later in life. This could be the difference between severe clinical disease and a healthy horse!
Read more >Thursday 18th of July 2019: It's a question that's come up time and time again for me over the last year or two. Often, clients will explain that their horses or ponies are not worth very much money, and so they don't think it's worthwhile. I thought I'd put together some of the aspects to consider, and some of the questions to ask about your potential cover. I'll also summarise some of the costs you might expect for treatment for various conditions - you might be surprised!
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: General stiffness, slowing down, difficulty rising... Is it just old age? Our senior pets may show subtle signs or be quite obvious in their attempts to tell us about their problems.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Vaccinating every year against the deadly Calici Virus is extreamly important.
We have had confirmed cases of the disease in Hawkes Bay within un-vaccinated rabbits, which unfortunately resulted in death.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Pet ownership is very rewarding but the decision should not be taken lightly as it is a long term and substantial responsibility.
When choosing your next puppy there are many things to consider; preferably a happy and healthy puppy and you should also think about the adult size and type of nature that will suit your family and lifestyle.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Duck shooting doesn't seem to cause many concerns for our canine companions, usually only a few cuts and bruises that are insignificant compared to the enjoyment derived from the exercise.
However getting damp in water for long periods can give rise to a flare up of ear disease (otitis externa).
Some dogs seem prone to this, often due to an underlying skin allergy or just the makeup of their ear anatomy. Prolonged moisture in the ears promotes growth of yeasts and bacteria leading to irritation, inflammation and pain. This, left untreated, can lead to more serious middle ear disease that is hard to treat and deafness.
Read more >Monday 13th of May 2019: Diabetes Mellitus is a disease condition where either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly and causing insulin resistance.
Read more >Thursday 28th of March 2019: Over this busy time of year, it can be easy to overlook the working dog with the limp, or the dog that hadn't eaten last night's dinner. What can save you a lot of trouble, both in cost and lack of a worker, is knowing when your dog can wait to see us and when it needs to be seen as soon as possible.