Endocrinology is the study of hormones and there are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats.
The diagnosis of most endocrine diseases is made or confirmed with bloodwork and/or ultrasound.
The more common endocrine disorders in dogs include:
- Hypothyroidism-hypothyroidism indicates that the animal has low levels of circulating thyroid hormone. The most prominent sign is bilateral hair loss on the trunk. Another less common symptom is lethargy.
- Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism – this a disease the end result of which is excess cortisol circulating in the blood stream. This results in the clinical signs of excess drinking & urinating, saggy abdomen, poor hair coat & increased susceptability to infections. Cushing’s disease is a disease of older dogs. It is often diagnosed when a routine geriatric blood screening panel is done.
- Diabetes mellitus – this is similar to the sugar diabetes that occurs in humans. The initial symptom is excessive drinking & urinating. This will be followed by weight loss.
- Hypoadrenocorticism – this is a lack of cortisol in the blood stream. This disease mimics many other diseases.
The more common endocrine disorders of cats include
- Hyperthyroidism – hyperthyroidism indicates that the cat has high levels of circulating thyroid hormone. The initial symptom is rapid weight loss. Hyperthyroidism is a very serious condition that if left untreated results in loss of appetite, high blood pressure & serious changes in the heart muscle.
- Diabetes melitus – this is similar to the sugar diabetes that occurs in humans. The initial symptom is excessive drinking & urinating. This will be followed by weight loss.
There are many signs observable in pets with endocrine disease. These signs include (but are not limited to) the following: abnormal energy levels, abnormal behavior, abnormal drinking, urinating and eating behavior, excessive panting, skin disorders, and weight gain or loss.