Volume 5 Issue 2

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Page 41 of 79

Most people are not aware of the endocrine system, yet it influences almost every cell, organ and func on of the body. The endocrine system plays a role in regula ng mood, growth, development, ssue func on, metabolism, sexual func on and reproduc on through the produc on of hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers. Examples of hormones include insulin, which is important in the regula on of blood sugar, estrogen and progesterone, which are involved in the female reproduc ve cycle, and thyroid which regulates many body func ons. Problems in the endocrine system include too much hormones, not enough hormones or the body not responding to hormones in the appropriate way. Stress, infec on, medica ons and changes in the blood's fluid and electrolyte balance can influence hormone levels as well. The endocrine glands include pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, parathyroid, ovaries, tes cles, and pancreas. These ssues release hormones into the bloodstream which then travel to other parts of the body. Several important hormones are released from ssues other than the endocrine glands, such as the heart, kidney, and liver. Some hormones act only on a single ssue, while others (like thyroid) have effects on virtually every cell in the body. External factors affec ng our pet's hormone health include chemicals, preserva ves (like xenoestrogens that are endocrine disrupters) found in food, water and environmental cleaners. There is much debate over the topic of early spay and neuter also having an impact on hormone health. Speak with your veterinarian regarding the pros and cons of early spay and neuter. The 2 most common and serious hormone problems in todays pets are thyroid (too high or too low) and insulin. Hyperthyroidism - Cats Hyperthyroidism is a common disease afflic ng primarily middle-aged and older cats. There is an increase in produc on of thyroid hormones due to a tumor in the thyroid gland. These cats may suffer from heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and kidney disease too. The most common clinical signs of hyperthyroidism are weight loss despite increased appe te, and increased thirst and urina on. Some cats exhibit vomi ng. HORMONES Wo n d e r i n g w h at t h e y d o ? Page 42 | Abby's Magazine -

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