This module, a work in progress, currently offers a comprehensive educational chapter on hyperthyroidism.
Metabolic homeostasis involves a complex interplay of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism. Various hormones in the body act to tightly control metabolism through multiple organ systems to maintain homeostasis and systemic health. Derangements in this metabolic equilibrium as a result of endocrine disease and hormone alterations can result in serious illness if untreated.
Diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism are among the most common endocrine diseases affecting cats and dogs.1-3 Each of these endocrine diseases has the possibility to cause dysfunction and dysregulation of virtually every organ system in the body and the potential to cause an array of clinical signs.
A thorough diagnostic workup is recommended to evaluate patient systemic health and, ultimately, to formulate an appropriate and effective treatment plan. Dietary modification has been shown to improve diabetic regulation and even increase the chance of diabetic remission in cats4 and is also an important treatment option for hyperthyroid patients that may not be candidates for I131 therapy or oral medications.5 In addition, hypothyroid patients are at risk for problems associated with hyperlipidemia and weight gain, and dietary therapy is warranted to decrease these risks.
Selecting an optimal nutritional plan for patients with endocrine disease involves not only selection of an appropriate diet but also consideration of nutrient supplementation and weight management. Nutritional management is an important part of a multimodal treatment plan for each of these diseases, and should not be overlooked as an important part of disease management. As no two patients are the same, each nutrition plan needs to be individualized for each patient, and adjustments may be necessary to achieve optimal disease control.