Pet Endocrine Diseases (Hormonal Problems)
Endocrine diseases in dogs and cats are caused by imbalances in hormonal levels in the pet’s body. Some endocrine disorders are not life threatening, but many are fatal if they’re not found and treated.
Endocrine diseases can develop because of a malfunctioning gland or the control of the gland is faulty. A bad gland can affect other glands too. For example, a problem in the pet’s pituitary gland can harm its adrenal glands.
There can be too much of a hormone or too little, and either of these can affect your pet’s health in many ways. For example, a tumor or the presence of other abnormal tissues in a gland often causes it to produce too much hormone. A gland secreting too much hormone is referred to as a ‘hyper’ condition and a gland that’s not producing enough hormone is referred to as a ‘hypo’ condition.
Some of the hyper, or excess hormone conditions, are caused by a number of health problems. One of these is hyperthyroidism, means that there is too much thyroid hormone in the pet’s system. Another condition is caused by hypertension, or high blood pressure. There are many more conditions that can cause too much of a hormone to be secreted.
On the other hand, the conditions that cause too little of a hormone to be secreted are the opposite of those that cause an excess. Instead of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism can be the cause of an endocrine issue. Then there is hypotension which means the blood pressure is too low.
Endocrine diseases caused by the hyper (excessive amount) condition can be treated by removing the tumor or tissue that is causing the problem with the gland, by radiotherapy, or by medicating to block the overactive gland.
Hormone deficiency syndromes, or the hypo condition, can usually be treated by simply supplementing the missing or deficient hormone. Of course dogs and cats taking these supplements must be monitored carefully and retested on a schedule to make sure the drug levels are still on target. Sometimes when a tumor or tissue growth is removed, the gland that is left will recover and the hormone replacement can be stopped.
Unfortunately, many of the endocrine diseases and their treatments are life-long once they are discovered and the proper correction for the condition is found.