Thursday, February 5, 2015

Comfortable pets

Firstly like to wish everyone a joyous 2015. Can you believe it's February?!

Secondly apologies for the break in anything from us.

"the holiday season" took it out of both of us...physically and everything else. Life does tend to throw curve balls at us and having to do battle with an already challenged body is quite a challenge.

Added to that we both have 'day jobs' and then some.

Needless to say now that I have laid out the background..let's move on.

We all love and adore our pets, treat them as though they were our babies. I'm guilty of it and I know you are too!

Sure this blog could be taken from a purely humanistic standpoint and focus on our diseases but the truth is various species of animals deal with this disorder as well. Which is what has interested us the most and lessened the blow, per se. Cats and dogs, our beloved companions, may also have to deal with this just as much as we do. It's important to understand the physiological effects and behaviors this disease can impact home life. Remember even though the individuals have to deal with it, there are still other family members or even just day to day activities and encounters influenced as well. Knowing how to deal with this is important because it will make the sufferer comfortable as well as lessen the battle. 

According to Dr Karen Becker, There are two ways a dog can end up with hypothyroidism. In its pure form, hypothyroidism is usually an immune system disorder also known as autoimmune thyroiditis, it means his body is attacking the tissues of his thyroid gland.

In response to this attack, the thyroid will first try to compensate by producing greater and greater amounts of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. But after awhile, the gland becomes depleted. It’s at this point your dog develops symptoms of the disorder and is diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
The other way your dog can end up hypothyroid is that his/her body simply produces less thyroid hormone over time, and eventually she does not produce enough for normal biological processes.
Thyroxine is an extremely important hormone in your dog’s body. It plays a significant role in bodily functions such as food metabolism, growth and development, oxygen consumption, reproduction and resistance to infection.

In contrast to Hypo-Thyrodism, pets can also just like us humans develop HypER-Thyroidism. Symptoms include but are not limited to: 
  1. The hair coat, especially in long-haired breeds, is often unkempt, dull, and may even be matted.
  2. Fast respiratory rate...panting, difficulty breathing
  3. Soft stools and diarrhea can occur in about a third of animals with hyperthyroidism
  4. Hyperactive, increased energy, or nervous behaviour...
    Hyperactivity, exhibited particularly as nervousness or restlessness, is relatively common in cats with hyperthyroidism.
CATS are often Hyperactive...
Weight loss despite a normal to increased appetite is the classic and most common sign of hyperthyroidism in cats. Hyperthyroidism is so common that it should always be considered as a possibility in any middle-aged to older cats that has lost weight, even in none of the other clinical features of the disease are present.
The weight loss associated is generally progressive and is usually first noticed by the owner as a loss of muscle mass around the cat’s back (spine).
With time, severe muscle wasting, emaciation, and death from starvation can occur if the cat’s hyperthyroidism is left untreated.
It is important to keep your pet comfortable, yet, mentally active. It becomes a quality of life issue and a couple of the ways to alleviate this disease:
* prepare a printed chart to ensure that your pet has been given his/her medicine on time
* make sure to give your pet his/her medicine on time every day according to Vet's prescription (It seems like a no brainer but you will notice the difference in behavior if your pet hasn't been given medicine, plus it's just unethical). 
In 2004, my brother adopted a beagle named Max. He was the runt of the litter but the cutest with his little black widow's peak and tri-color perfectly arranged along his body. As the years progressed, Max had various skin issues resulting in his "undercoat" falling out leaving a pig-like consistency to his fur. At first the vets thought he had Cushing's, it turns out it was hypothyroidism. His behavior changed too- to a mopey, garbage-disposal, couch potato! His nails became so brittle that if he got one stuck in the knit of a blanket, he'd let out a loud series of yelps and the nail would split and start bleeding at the quick.