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Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your dog or cat's thyroid gland fails to function properly, either due to inflammation or aging. Although hypothyroidism is not a life threatening disease, it can decrease the quality of life for your dog or cat through its associated symptoms (hair loss, weight gain, aggressive behavior).

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Dogs and Cats

Most cases of Hypothyroidism stem from the animal's own immune system attacking the thyroid gland. This condition is known by the name – Autoimmune Thyroiditis. The thyroid initially fights back by secreting even more of its only weapon, the thyroid hormone. But in untreated cases, the battle is usually lost as the thyroid is overwhelmed by the attacks of the immune system. 

Conventional Treatment

Conventional treatment includes both medical management and/or surgery. A daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormones are most often prescribed. While this aproach can be effective in restoring the functioning of the thyroid, often times too much of the thyroid hormone becomes produced resulting in hyperthyroidism. Another approach is to surgically remove the thyroid. Both conventional treatments can be effective, but can be invasive (surgery) or difficult to regulate properly (synthetic hormones).

Natural Remedies for Hypothyroidism

Natural remedies are becoming more and more popular because of their ability to improve the functioning of the thyroid without inducing hyperthyroidism. Additionally, there are herbs that address many of the symptoms brought on by hypothyroidism. Along with a healthy diet and proper exercise, any natural treatment for hypothyroidism should include:

  • Bladderwack – Bladderwack (or kelp) is a sea vegetable known for its ability to control an overactive thyroid gland. Kelp is also a primary source of iodine. Whenever you use kelp as part of a natural remedy for treating your pet's hypothyroid problem, make sure you know where the kelp is harvested. Kelp harvested near heavily travelled beaches may be contaminated.
  • Astragalas – Astragalas is a well known Chinese remedy for revitalizing the endocrine system. It also helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

See Supplements for Hypothyroidism in Pets