What You Need to Know About Hyperthyroidism in Cats

What You Need to Know About Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Hyperthyroidism is a common feline endocrine disease, mostly afflicting cats over eight years of age. It results from overproducing thyroid hormones, which increases the overall body metabolism. If left untreated, the disease can impact your furry friend's quality of life and result in serious health complications. Learn more about hyperthyroidism symptoms and make sure to keep up with your routine exams at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital to ensure your cat stays purr-fectly healthy and lively.


What Causes Hyperthyroidism in Cats?

The exact cause of hyperthyroidism in cats remains unclear. However, it is known that the condition develops when some areas of the thyroid glands enlarge and produce excess thyroid hormone. That is usually associated with non-cancerous tumors called adenomas on one or both thyroid glands. However, in very rare cases, malignant tumors known as thyroid adenocarcinomas are the culprit.


What Are the Symptoms of Feline Hyperthyroidism?

Cats with hyperthyroidism usually develop signs that may be subtle at first but become more severe as the disease progresses. Since the symptoms may be missed during the early stages of the disease, we may recommend routine thyroid screening.

The most common warning signs of hyperthyroidism are an increase in appetite, weight loss, and increased thirst and urination. Symptoms also include aggressive or cranky behavior, a poor or dull hair coat, periodic vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, a fast heart rate, weakness, and depression. Even if one or more of these hyperthyroidism signs are present, a diagnosis requires confirmation through lab tests.


What Are the Complications of Feline Hyperthyroidism?

Because of the critical role the thyroid glands play in metabolism, elevated levels can be hard on multiple body systems and organs. Cats with hyperthyroidism often develop chronic kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, bladder disorders, and more. That's why pet parents need to be on the lookout for hyperthyroidism symptoms to allow for prompt treatment.


What Is the Treatment for Feline Hyperthyroidism?

There are four treatment options, including medication, dietary therapy, radioactive iodine therapy, and surgery. Your trusted team at All About Cats Veterinary Hospital will work with you to determine the best line of treatment depending on your furry companion's condition.

Medication: This helps regulate the production of the thyroid hormone. While medications do not necessarily cure the disease, they are effective in controlling the condition.

Dietary Therapy: Some studies suggest that limiting the amount of iodine in the diet can help treat hyperthyroidism. That may be a good option for cats with medical conditions that would interfere with other treatment options.

Radioactive Iodine Therapy: This is the treatment of choice. It involves administering radioactive iodine that selectively destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue without damaging surrounding tissues. The majority of cats treated have normal hormone levels within a week or two.  However, not all cats can have this treatment; also, in about 2.5 – 5% of cats treated with radioactive iodine, the treatment leads to hypothyroidism, which then must be managed with daily medication.

Surgery: This involves removing the thyroid glands. The advantage of surgery is that it usually cures the condition, eliminating the need for long-term therapy.


Feline Veterinary Care in Kirkland, WA

Contact All About Cats Veterinary Hospital to learn more about the warning signs, diagnosis, and treatment of feline hyperthyroidism. We are committed to providing our four-legged patients with outstanding, compassionate care. You can always count on us!


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