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Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!

October 3, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!”

Hyperthyroidism. Don’t ignore the signs!

If you have a cat you must be aware of how common thyroid issues are with them. Hyperthyroidism is a disease that is most common in middle-aged and older cats.

It’s the increased production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) from the thyroid gland that causes the increase. The thyroid gland, located on your cat’s neck, controls the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism is, in most cases, caused by a benign tumor called adenoma, but the reason why the disease occurs is not yet fully understood.

A cat with hyperthyroidism can exhibit the following symptoms:
– increased thirst
– increased urination
– increased appetite
– weight loss
– a greasy coat
– diarrhea
– vomiting
– behavioral changes – depression, hyperactivity and/or aggression

If your cat is experiencing these you should see your vet who should take a detailed history before continuing with a clinical examination of your cat. Before beginning the clinical examination, a blood pressure measurement is recommended. It’s important to palpate the neck area because sometimes the thyroid gland can be enlarged. On heart auscultation, cats often have an increased heart rate and sometimes a heart murmur.

Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed by measuring the amount of thyroid hormone (T4) in the blood. Given the age of the patient, the blood sample, together with a urinalysis, should also be screened for other diseases to get an overall picture of your cat’s health.

Hyperthyroidism can hide a kidney disease, so it is important to recheck the kidney values after treatment is started.

Pro Tip! It is normal to see increased liver enzymes in cats with hyperthyroidism, but they often level out when treatment is instituted. Hyperthyroidism can hide a kidney disease, so it is important to recheck the kidney values after treatment is started.

There are several different treatment methods for hyperthyroidism.

Tablets

First of all, there is a tablet treatment that causes the production of thyroid hormones to decrease. The tablets are given once to twice a day for the rest of the cat’s life. Your vet should take regular blood samples to check that the dose is still appropriate, and also to screen for kidney disease and possible side effects. Side effects of the tablets may include decreased appetite, vomiting/diarrhea, itching or bone marrow suppression.

Surgery

Surgery is a long-term or permanent treatment option where the thyroid glands are removed. However, your cat would need to undergo a general anaesthetic. There is also the risk of damage to the parathyroid glands which lie close to the thyroid gland and help the body to maintain the blood calcium levels.

Radioactive Iodine Therapy

However, the treatment of choice, for cats with hyperthyroidism, is radioactive iodine therapy. Radioactive iodine is injected and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland and destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue without damaging the surrounding tissues or the parathyroid glands. The side effects are few but initially you can notice a temporary voice change and some difficulty swallowing. The treatment requires special personnel and equipment with the majority of cats treated with radioactive iodine returning to normal hormone levels within one to two weeks of treatment.

Iodine Free Food

Yet another treatment option is to give your cat iodine free food. Iodine helps to form the hormone so feeding your cat iodine free food will help to naturally reduce the thyroid hormone. If you feed your cat this particular diet it shouldn’t eat anything else, not even treats. As with the tablets, regular blood samples are a good idea to measure your cat’s response to the treatment.

I hope you’ve found this helpful and feel free to share with anyone you know who has a cat. Spotting the signs early on can make a huge difference to the quality of life of your favourite feline friends.

I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

Summer’s over! Is your dog still feeling the heat?

September 18, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Summer’s over! Is your dog still feeling the heat?”

Summer’s over!

Is your dog still feeling the heat?

This may sound like an unusual question, but when was your bitch last in heat? As a vet it’s a question that I always ask pet owners when their dog presents symptoms that suggest Pyometra.

On average, according to a top pet insurance company, one in four dogs will suffer from Pyometra before they reach 10 years of age. Of course this figure varies around the world, depending on the percentage of dogs spayed. For example, the disease is very common in Scandinavia where approximately 7% of all female dogs are spayed, whereas it’s less of an issue in the United States where 85% are spayed.

So, what is Pyometra and why should you be concerned about it?

Pyometra is the inflammation of the uterus and is one of the most common diseases experienced by intact female dogs. It’s a serious disease which can result in life threatening complications if it isn’t treated in time. The disease can develop very rapidly or the symptoms can develop over several cycles.

Despite a lot of research on pyometra, there remain many unanswered questions regarding its development. Hormones make the uterus susceptible to becoming infected by bacteria. The most common bacteria to contribute to Pyometra is Escherichia coli, an intestinal bacteria. The uterus changes with age and older dogs are unfortunately more likely to develop Pyometra which usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last heat.

What are the most common symptoms of Pyometra?

  • – increased thirst
  • – increased urination
  • – decreased appetite
  • – vomiting
  • – diarrhea
  • – fever
  • – decreased well-being

Pyometra can have life threatening consequences for your beloved dog, so do see a vet if you suspect your dog is suffering from it.

Pro Tip! If the cervix is open, a brown-red vaginal discharge is very common. In cases where the cervix is closed, there will be no vaginal discharge and this is a more serious condition since the uterus is considered a “ticking bomb” that can blow anytime. Pyometra can also lead to secondary inflammation of the joints, and if this is the case you’ll notice stiffness or lameness.

See your vet to confirm the diagnosis and they’ll begin with a clinical examination which may reveal:

  • – a distended and/or painful abdomen
  • – increased heart/respiratory rate
  • – fever
  • – pale mucous membranes
  • – vaginal discharge

Your vet should also take some blood samples which may eventually show the following signs:

  • – infection/inflammation
  • – anemia
  • – dehydration
  • – affected inner organs

A radiograph or ultrasound of the abdomen may also reveal a uterus filled with fluid. It’s also good practice for your vet to also take a sterile urinary sample including bacterial culture to exclude concurrent urinary tract infection.

Pro Tip! In some cases, the disease may temporarily be treated with antibiotics and injections that help to empty the fluid filled uterus. But the disease will often return in the next cycle, so your vet should instead surgically remove the uterus and ovaries. This is called a “ovariohysterectomy”, or castration.

When should you contact your vet?

If your dog shows any of the above-mentioned symptoms, especially an older bitch, then we recommend a checkup at your vet. It is very helpful for you and the vet to keep track of your dog’s heat cycles.

As mentioned, Pyometra can have life threatening consequences for your beloved dog, so do see a vet if you suspect your dog is suffering from it. Thirst is only one of the symptoms but it can be a big help in spotting a disease like Pyometra in good time.

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I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

Is your cat (or dog) drinking like a fish?

September 13, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Is your cat (or dog) drinking like a fish?”

Is your cat (or dog) drinking like a fish?

As a veterinary doctor I have treated countless animals whose owners have noticed them drinking far more water than they usually do. This common symptom can be indicative of a larger problem afflicting our beloved dogs and cats.

Why is it difficult to asses the water intake?

Other than diseases there are of course other natural factors that can contribute to increased water consumption:

  • – High activity level
  • – Hot weather
  • – Young animals
  • – Dry diet

Daily water intake can vary greatly from day to day so it is important to assess water consumption at home over several consecutive days to determine whether your pet is drinking more than usual.

The thing that vets often overlook is that you live a busy life and it can be difficult to monitor how much water your pet is drinking daily. It isn’t always practical for you to check up on exactly how much water your dog or cat is drinking, especially if there is more than one pet in the household drinking from the same bowl.

To monitor the situation more accurately some pet owners leave their pets with their vet over the course of a day, however, from personal experience through my work as a vet, I can say that this is often counterproductive as pets do not always drink as much elsewhere as they would at home.

20-70ml of water consumption is considered normal for each kilogram that your pet weighs.

How much water should your pet drink?

Pro Tip! If you’re not sure how much water your pet should be drinking keep in mind that 20-70ml of water consumption is considered normal for each kilogram that your pet weighs. Any more than 100ml per kilogram each day is considered pathological Polydipsia.

If your pet is drinking any more than 100ml per kg of their weight it should be investigated further. While increased water consumption may be due to a change in the weather, activities, or medication, Polydipsia – excessive water consumption – can be a sign that your pet has one of the following conditions:

  • – Inflammation of the uterus (pyometra)
  • – Renal disease
  • – Urinary disease
  • – Diabetes mellitus
  • – Hyperthyroidism
  • – Cushing’s disease
  • – Addison’s disease
  • – Liver disease
  • – Elevated blood calcium levels
  • – Diabetes insipidus
  • – Psychogenic polydipsia

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I’m a veterinarian with almost 10 years experience in small animal practice. I’m originally from Sweden but moved to Copenhagen to fulfill my dream of becoming a vet. I’ve been working in Denmark, United Kingdom and back home in Sweden. Animals, especially dogs, has always been a big part of my life. Being a vet and helping animals and their owners, feels more like a privilege than a job.
Alvin, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel follows me anywhere I go.

Caroline Edvinsson

DVM, GPCertSAM, CEO @ TERST

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