Hormones are substances produced and released by the endocrine gland. Any increase or decrease in the level of even one hormone is enough to lead to serious health problems.
Hormonal imbalance in cats can cause several problems. A commonly occurring hormonal disorder in cats is diabetes mellitus. Cats acquire diabetes mellitus when the hormone insulin releases high amounts of sugar in the blood and urine stream. Another common hormone problem is hyperthyroidism. This disease occurs due to increase in thyroid level. It afflicts older cats more than younger cats.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas. A rise in insulin secretion raises the level of sugar in blood and urine. This leads to diabetes which is medically termed as diabetes mellitus. Obesity can be a reason for diabetes. Sometimes the disease is also inherited. Male Siamese cats are mainly known to suffer from diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include increase in appetite, weight loss, thirst and excessive urination. Cats also acquire recurring infections of skin and urinary tract. Sometimes cats also find it difficult to stand on their hind legs. This is because their legs do not receive adequate blood supply. This type of diabetes that affects the nerves is termed as Diabetic Neuropathy.
There is no permanent cure for diabetes. It can only be kept under control by following a proper diet and by giving the cat regular insulin injections. But proper dosage of insulin is required since an imbalance of hormones can be life threatening. A vet should be consulted regularly to know the right insulin dosage. Sometimes Diabetes Therapy is also used for treatment. This involves lowering the blood sugar level to the point of stabilizing it. By doing this the release of insulin in the blood stream is taken care of. There are cat foods available in the market that specifically aim to do this. Giving the cat a diet of vanadium and chromium is also helpful in maintaining the hormonal balance.
The exact reason for thyroid disease is not known. However, cancer is considered a potential reason. In many cases, secondary heart and kidney diseases can also lead to hyperthyroidism. If the secondary diseases are treated, thyroid problem is automatically resolved. Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are sudden loss of weight in spite of a healthy diet, recurring nausea, dry skin that starts peeling, unhealthy looking fur coat and lethargy. A few cats might show sudden weight gain without any increase in appetite or diet.
Treating imbalance of diseased thyroid hormones includes plenty of options. The vet might prescribe:
It is important that a hormones checkup be done regularly for cats. This will ensure timely treatment of diseases, if any.