Endocrinology is the study of hormones and there are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats. These conditions most commonly affect middle aged to older pets and are typically associated with particular symptoms(although some patients do not read the textbooks!). These signs include (but are not limited to) the following: abnormal energy levels, abnormal behavior, abnormal drinking, abnormal urinating and eating behavior, excessive panting, skin disorders, and weight loss or weight gain.The most common endocrine diseases found in dogs include: hypothyroidism (low levels of circulating thyroid hormone), Cushing’s disease (excessive adrenal gland activity), and Addison’s disease (inadequate adrenal gland activity). In cats, hyperthyroidism (high levels of circulating thyroid hormones) and diabetes mellitus are the most common. Please refer to the “Articles” section of the website for more details on a particular condition.
If you are concerned that your pet may have an endocrine disease, we encourage you to book an appointment with one of our veterinarians. A detailed history of your pet’s health is the first step in establishing a diagnosis, followed by a complete physical examination. In most cases, initial diagnostic testing (usually bloodwork and urinalysis) is performed. These tests may be adequate, but in some cases, more specific tests are needed to establish an accurate diagnosis.
These medical cases can be difficult to accurately diagnose and treat. It is very important to maintain good communication with our veterinary staff in order to avoid frustration! In many cases, frequent visits to the clinic may be required, especially in the early stages of diagnosis. As time progresses, visit frequency is reduced, but these conditions do require ongoing monitoring of particular parameters, usually 1-2 times a year.
When a diagnosis is confirmed, medications are available to control most endocrine disorders.