by Liz Ammirato
As pets age, they become more susceptible to developing diseases caused by hormonal imbalances. Two endocrine disorders that owners of senior pets need to be aware of are Cushing’s disease and Hyperthyroidism.
“The sooner a disease is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated,” says Patra De Silva, President of NHV Natural Pet Products, makers of veterinarian-approved and formulated plant-based natural supplements. “It’s important to take note of any behavioral or physical changes in your pet.”
Cushing’s disease, or hyperadrenocorticism, is seen mainly in dogs and is caused by an over-production of cortisol in the body. Symptoms of Cushing’s disease include excessive drinking and urinating, poor skin and coat quality, abdominal bloating, and excessive appetite.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. Generally, cortisol is stored and released during times of stress. There are two possible causes for the over production of this hormone: a small tumor on the pituitary gland, or a tumor on the adrenal glands themselves. Cushing’s disease can also be caused by the over-use of steroidal pharmaceutical medications.
The ultimate goal of treating Cushing’s is to improve the quality of life and reduce symptoms.
NHV Supraglan is a natural formula which contains a blend of herbs with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent properties, and helps regulate a range of symptoms caused by Cushing’s disease. The herbs work synergistically to balance the adrenal system and help the body to respond to stress and inflammation. Supraglan also helps to restore the quality of the skin and coat and to regulate water levels, thereby reducing excessive thirst and urination.
“The liver can also be affected in the fight against Cushing’s, so we recommend the addition of Milk Thistle — which offers excellent support for the liver — when using Supraglan for Cushing’s disease,” says NHV’s in-office veterinarian, Dr. Amanda Nascimento.
Hyperthyroidism is an extremely common condition in senior cats. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an over-active thyroid gland and can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, irritability and anxiety, tremors, and most noticeably an increase in appetite with marked weight loss. This is because the metabolism is increased to a point that the cat is unable to effectively absorb all the nutrients in their food before it is digested and excreted.
“Hyperthyroidism in cats should be treated as soon as possible, as it can wreak havoc on the body if unregulated,” says NHV’s veterinary technician, Johanna. “A heart that beats too fast for too long can become damaged, and increased blood pressure can put stress on many parts of the body, such as the brain and kidneys. Once a cat with hyperthyroidism has lost most of its fat mass, the body then begins to metabolize muscle mass, causing muscle loss and weakness. Our pets can’t communicate it to us easily, but hyperthyroidism can make them feel very tired, anxious and unsettled.”
A simple blood test to check the tetraiodothyronine (T4) level is used for diagnosis, with an elevated T4 level indicative of hyperthyroidism. There are two conventional options for treatment of feline hyperthyroidism: daily oral medications or radioactive iodine treatment, which destroys a portion of the thyroid gland, bringing the hormone levels back to normal.
NHV Resthyro is a natural blend of herbs which can help cats to balance their thyroid function, as well as aid in kidney function, liver function, anxiety reduction and vascular support. It is safe to be given along with conventional hyperthyroid medications, while following your veterinarian’s instructions and closely monitoring your cat’s T4 levels.
“An older pet presents special challenges,” says Dr. Nascimento. “You can help them by watching for unusual symptoms and providing natural remedies to support their health and well-being.”
NHV NATURAL PET PRODUCTS provides veterinarian-formulated supplements derived from natural botanicals to support the health and well-being of pets including dogs, cats and small animals. In addition to the safe and effective manufacture of a full-line of Veterinarian-approved pet supplements that contain organically grown and ethically wild crafted herbs and botanicals, NHV also offers vet consultations to provide professional support and guidance for disease prevention and treatment for over 100 pet health conditions. For more information, visit www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com