Hyperthyroidism In Cats
If you are a cat owner, you may be wondering about hyperthyroidism in cats. Hyperthyroidism is common in middle aged or older cats, whether male or female. This condition is caused by an overactive thyroid. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that secretes a hormone, and when too much hormone is secreted, this is known as hyperthyroidism in cats. Although typically not serious, hyperthyroidism in cats does need to be treated.
- What the thyroid affects. Much like in humans, in cats the thyroid controls the metabolic rate and will often determine how active your pet is.
- Symptoms of hyperthyroid. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats are weight loss, increased hunger and thirst, as well as irritability of mood and excess energy. Some cats may also have a faster heart rate if they are hyperthyroid, and the cat's coat may appear to lose some of it's luster.
- Diagnosis. Generally, a cat will be diagnosed as hyperthyroid through a combination of blood work and palpation of the cat's thyroid by a vet. A cat that has hyperthyroidism will often have an enlarged thyroid, or a noticeable lump on the thyroid.
- Treatment of hyperthyroidism in cats. There are several courses of treatment your vet may recommend. Some cats take daily thyroid medication to keep the hormone level under control. For other cats, surgery to remove part of the thyroid may be the best option. In other cases, a single shot of radioactive iodine administered by a vet may be advised, although your cat will likely have to stay in the hospital for a few weeks after such a shot due to the radioactivity.
When diagnosed and treated promptly, cats with hyperthyroidism have a very good prognosis. If left untreated, certain other medical conditions, such as hypertension, can also occur. Ask your vet to check your pet;s thyroid at yearly visits, and call for an appointment if you become concerned about possible hyperthyroidism between vet visits.