Endocrinology is the branch of medicine dealing with hormonal abnormalities in the body. Hormonal diseases can occur as a result of an excess of certain hormones, such as hyperthyroidism or Cushing’s disease, or due to a lack of hormones, such as diabetes, Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism.
The endocrine glands are located throughout the body, and include the pancreas and adrenal glands in the abdomen, the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck, and the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain. The ovaries and testicles also produce hormones, but as most of our patients are spayed or neutered, we do not commonly see abnormalities related to these organs.
Hormonal diseases can cause a multitude of clinical signs, depending on what organ is affected, and whether the problem is an excess or a deficit of a particular hormone. Skin problems such as hair loss or recurrent infections, increased drinking and urinating, weight loss or weight gain, weakness and lethargy, and excessive panting are just a few of the common signs that we see related to endocrine problems.