Feline hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder in middle-aged and older cats. It occurs in about 10 percent of feline patients over 10 years of age. Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by an overactive thyroid gland that secretes excess thyroid hormone. Cats typically have two thyroid glands, one gland on each side of the neck. One or both glands may be affected. The excess thyroid hormone causes an overactive metabolism that stresses the heart, digestive tract, and many other organ systems.
Pictures of Timmy, before and after developing hyperthyroidism
If you observe any of the following behaviors or problems in your cat, contact your veterinarian because the information may alert them to the possibility that your cat has hyperthyroidism.
• weight loss despite a normal or increased appetite
• increased urination, more urine in the litter box
• increased drinking or thirst
• defecation outside of the litter box
• increased vocalization
• restlessness, increased activity
• rarely, lethargy and a lack of appetite
• poor hair coat, unkempt fur
In general, all cats with hyperthyroidism need to be treated. The goal of therapy is to restore normal thyroid function and minimize side effects of treatment without creating lower than normal levels of thyroid hormones (referred to as hypothyroidism). On-going monitoring of your cat after any treatment is very important, as well as routine veterinary checkups with your veterinarian. If you have any additional questions, concerns, or notice any sudden changes with your cat, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
For more information on feline hyperthyroidism, visit www.catvets.com/fht.