Occurring in 10% of cats over 10 years of age, and the most common endocrine disorder of middle aged and older cats, Feline Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland that secretes excess thyroid hormone. Many cats diagnosed early can be treated successfully. If untreated, the condition’s progress will lead to marked weight loss and serious complications due to damage to the heart, kidneys, and other organ systems.
Common symptoms can be:
- Weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
- Increased drinking and increased urination
- Defecation outside the litter box
- Increased vocalization
- Restlessness, increased activity
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Poor hair coat, unkempt fur
In general, all cats with hyperthyroidism require treatment, and your veterinarian can discuss different options depending upon age, other disease conditions, and your pet’s individual needs. Options may include nutritional therapy, medicinal therapy, radioiodine therapy, or a thyroidectomy.
Twice yearly examinations may allow early detection of hyperthyroidism, as well as any age-related diseases. During the physical examination, your veterinarian may discover increased heart and respiratory rates, hypertension, a palpable thyroid gland, and loss of muscle mass. Routine senior wellness laboratory screenings may detect abnormalities before clinical signs are advanced. Blood testing can reveal elevation of thyroid hormones and, occasionally, additional testing may be required to confirm the diagnosis since hyperthyroidism can occur along with other medical conditions. A comprehensive screening of your cat’s heart, kidneys, and other organ systems is imperative.
Give your cat the best chance to have a long, healthy life with you. A simple test when your veterinarian offers a Senior Wellness Profile may save his life.