Lynwood Veterinary Clinic
568 Metcalfe Rd
Ferndale, WA, 6148
Phone: 08 9451 3575
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Welcome to our May newsletter! We hope everyone is enjoying the Autumn weather with the pleasant days and cooler nights - time to pull out the blankets! This month's newsletter is packed full of information on diseases of the endocrine or hormone system. These problems most commonly affect middle aged to older animals and include diseases of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands and pancreas.

Regular health checks help pick up these diseases early, meaning treatment is less complicated and more successful giving a better outcome for your pet. Endocrine diseases usually require lifelong medications to keep the condition controlled and having pet insurance is a definite  plus if your pet is diagnosed with any chronic disease.  We recommend everyone look into getting pet insurance when they get a new puppy or kitten as getting insurance early means there will be few, if any, exclusions on your policy. With veterinary medicine closely following advancements in human medicine, more diagnostics and treatments are available but unfortunately unlike human medicine there is no Medicare to help with the higher costs involved.

Contents of this newsletter

01  Maddie’s insatiable appetite

02  What is an endocrine disease?

03  Mothers of the animal kingdom

04  Cushing's disease – one to watch out for

05  A special mum

01 Maddie’s insatiable appetite

Meet Maddie, a scrawny 14 year old tortoiseshell cat who is always in search of a meal. 

A check up revealed Maddie had lost nearly 17% of her body weight in the past year. This was despite her ravenous appetite and regular snacks around the neighbourhood.

A blood test revealed grossly elevated levels of thyroid hormone circulating in her body. She was suffering from an endocrine disease called hyperthyroidism. This condition is not uncommon in older cats and an overproduction of thyroid hormone results in an out-of-control metabolic rate, upsetting the regulation of carbohydrates, fats, and protein as well as the function of the heart.

Common signs of hyperthyroidism:

• Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
• Poor coat quality
• Vomiting
• Increased thirst and urination

There are different options for the treatment of hyperthyroidism and the treatment of individual patients depends on how well the kidneys and the heart are functioning.

Maddie has since commenced treatment with a transdermal medication and is gaining weight. We will monitor Maddie’s progress closely with regular blood and urine tests.

Arrange an appointment with us if you think your cat might be showing some of the signs mentioned above.

02 What is an endocrine disease?

An endocrine disease is a fancy way of describing a disease that is caused by a hormonal imbalance. These diseases are relatively common and can greatly affect your pet’s quality of life. Some diseases can even be life threatening if they are not diagnosed and treated correctly.

Endocrine diseases can develop because a gland is not functioning properly or the control of the gland is faulty.

When too much hormone is produced, the disease is referred to as a hyper disease. Tumours and abnormal tissue growth commonly cause an overproduction of hormone. 

A hypo disease occurs when too little hormone is produced. Endocrine glands that are destroyed, removed, or just stop working cause these diseases. 

Keep a look out for the following:

  • Changes in appetite and thirst
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in coat and skin
  • Changes in behaviour

There are multiple ways we can treat an endocrine disease but diagnosis of the actual cause of the disease is essential.

We will cover some of the common endocrine diseases in this newsletter but remember that there are plenty more out there so make sure your pet receives regular health checks with us. 

03 Mothers of the animal kingdom

Some amazing facts!

  • Elephants have the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom at 22 months.
  • Chimpanzees have the longest childhoods (apart from humans), staying with their mothers for up to 7 years.
  • Blue whale calves nurse for 7 to 8 months, drinking about 230 litres of milk a day. They gain about 3.7 kg every hour and are weaned when they reach about 13m in length. 
  • Male seahorses can actually give birth to offspring.

And finally:

During her reproductive life, one female cat has the ability to produce more than 100 kittens. Remember that there are many unwanted kittens and cats out there so it's important to desex your pet.

04 Cushing's disease – one to watch out for

Cushing's disease is one of the most common endocrine diseases seen in dogs. It is a slow and progressive disease caused by the overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is a normal hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland, and this hormone is essential for normal body function. Unfortunately, in some animals, the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol and can have detrimental effects on your pet’s quality of life.

In some cases, Cushing's can be caused by an external source of cortisol, such as the long term administration of cortisone.

Watch out for these signs of Cushing's disease:

  • Excessive thirst and appetite
  • Excessive urination
  • A pot belly
  • Ongoing skin problems, thin skin and hair loss
  • Poor tolerance of heat and excessive panting
  • Lethargy

Blood and urine tests are needed to diagnose Cushing's disease. It is also important that other endocrine diseases such as diabetes are ruled out.

Cushing's disease is just another reason why we like to perform regular health checks on your pet. If we are able to detect and commence treatment early we can slow the progression of the disease and help your pet live a longer and healthier life.

05 A special mum

We thought it would be a good time to celebrate mums of the furry variety!

In keeping with this theme, we stumbled across a beautiful story of a mother dog in Chile. She saved her litter of nine pups from a forest fire by digging a hole to allow the week old puppies to take shelter.

The devoted mother, who was nicknamed Blacky, had no time to escape and local residents witnessed her taking the puppies away from the blaze and burying them under a metal container to protect them.

Rescuers who went in search of the pups found them alive and well and they, along with their mum, were put up for adoption.

You can see images of Blacky and her pups and read more about this amazing story here.