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Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for producing and secreting thyroid
hormone (thyroxine), which affects nearly all body systems. Thyroxine is the hormone that is primarily
responsible for regulating the metabolic rate of many different tissues in the body. In hypothyroidism, not
enough thyroxine is produced, which causes the metabolism of these tissues to slow down.
Hypothyroidism is very rare in the cat. It arises most often following treatment of hyperthyroidism in the cat.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) is the most common thyroid disorder of cats.
What To Watch For
A deficiency of thyroid hormone affects the metabolic function of many organ systems. As a result, the clinical
signs are usually variable, non-specific, and slow to develop. Although there is no one symptom that is
diagnostic, several combined signs may make your veterinarian more suspicious. Symptoms may include:
Lethargy, lack of interest in play, increased amounts of sleeping
Weight gain and obesity
Cold intolerance – seeks out warm places to lie down, low body temperature
Decreased appetite
Chronic skin disorders, such as dry skin, thinning of the hair coat, excessive hair loss