Tag Archives: obesity


The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolic rate. When it slows down the whole body slows down.

Hypothyroidism is a deficiency in production of the thyroid hormone. This deficiency is caused by immune-mediated destruction of the thyroid gland, most commonly, or by natural atrophy of the gland.

Signs of hypothyroidism include:

  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy
  • Cold intolerance
  • Dry coat and excessive shedding of hair
  • Very thin coat
  • Increased pigmentation of the skin
  • Failure to re-grow hair after clipping or shaving
  • A tragic expression because of thickening of the facial skin
  • Abnormal nerve function exhibited as non-painful lameness, dragging of the feet, lack of co-ordination and a head tilt
  • Loss of libido and infertility in intact males
  • Lack of heat periods, infertility, and abortion in females
  • Spots on the eyes
  • Dry eye because of inadequate tear production.
  • Anaemia

The thyroid glands are located in the neck either side of the trachea or windpipe. They are controlled by the body’s master gland, the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain.


To confirm hypothyroidism we test blood to see if T4, the main thyroid hormone, is low. Unfortunately, dogs sick for some other reason or taking certain drugs like seizure medications, may have low levels too. Confirmation of hypothyroidism sometimes requires an additional test.

Hypothyroidism is treated daily with tablets containing a thyroid replacement hormone, thyroxine, for the rest of the dog’s life.

We check T4 levels again after a month of treatment to make sure we are giving the right dose. We test 4-6 hours after the morning dose. T4 levels are then checked every 6 months and the dose adjusted if necessary.

Overdosing produces signs of hyperthyroidism including hyperactivity, lack of sleep, weight loss, panting, nervousness, aggressive behaviour and an increase in water consumption. If any of these occur, please let us know immediately.

Bored Cat Syndrome

Keeping cats indoors increases their life spans because they don’t become victims of cars, other animals, diseases or thievery. Unfortunately many cats are left alone without stimulation or a feline friend while their human companions are at work and school. Some of these cats develop behaviour problems or stress illnesses while others become dangerously obese from lack of exercise. Most of these latchkey cats suffer from Bored Cat Syndrome!

It is impossible for most people to stay home and entertain their cats all day. Enrich the home environment and give cats choices to avoid Bored Cat Syndrome:

  • Stabilise cat trees with lots of shelves by adding a larger base or fastening the tree to a wall or the ceiling. Position one next to a secure window and hang a bird feeder outside the window to maximize cat fun while preserving birds’ lives.
  • Carpeted shelving around walls at different heights give cats lots of opportunity for exercise and contemplation of their home comforts. Many access points to the shelves give cats choices and prevent them from being cornered without an escape route.
  • Wide window perches allow cats to scope out the neighborhood from the safety of their homes.

Fight obesity and stimulate your cat by making your cat work for his food:

  • Treat balls or shapes packed with healthy treats or dry food provide hours of chasing and playing fun. Make a puzzle out of a cardboard box with two to three holes in each side, just big enough for a paw to reach in for biscuits, but not big enough for a head to be caught in.
  • Play hide and seek with treats or dry food. Scatter them behind sofas, up cat trees or on shelves while your cat is otherwise engaged.
  • Many cats enjoy exercise wheels like these kitty treadmills

Other ways remedies for bored cats:

  • Videos made for cats keep them occupied and stimulated when they are left alone. Video Catnip and The Cat Sitter feature the sights and sounds of birds, fish, mice and other animals. Some cats are fascinated by these videos; others give a passing glance and continue with their own agendas.
  • Television talk shows or home and garden shows keep some cats fascinated
  • Some cats love to play in running water like the Drinkwell Pet, available from Hall Veterinary Surgery.
  • Many cats enjoy the company of other cats. Consider both cats’ personalities before bringing a newcomer into the house. Some cats do not adjust to another cat in the household. Proper introductions can take months even when two cats are well suited.

Dogs are good for you!

The doctors and scientists have confirmed what pet owners have known for centuries – dogs are good for you!

Pet ownership increases physical activity and reduces obesity, but also reduces stress and builds community.

Owning and walking a dog significantly increases the amount of walking a person does. Young girls who own a dog spend 29 minutes more per day in physical activity than their friends without a dog.

Scientists proved some years ago that obese people who diet and exercise with their obese dogs are much more likely to lose weight and keep it off than people who diet and exercise alone.

Recent studies of school age children have shown that just incidental play and interaction with the dog were enough to prevent obesity.

Children of dog-owning families were in better physical condition even if they did not personally walk the dog.

Dogs owners report that their dogs are a strong source of motivation, companionship and social support – that is great mates!

Dogs have social benefits and build community networks because owners interact with other people on walks and at dog related activities like obedience classes.