What is Feline Hyperthyroidism?
Cats have two thyroid glands situated in their neck. When the glands produce too much thyroid hormone, cats develop a condition called Hyperthryroidism. Thyroid hormones are responsible to regulate several of the body processes. When too much hormone is produced the clinical signs can be quite dramatic, and cats can become seriously ill. The excess thyroid hormone causes an overactive metabolism that stresses the heart, digestive tract, and many other organ systems. The condition usually occurs in middle aged and senior cats.
What is the clinical signs of Hyperthyroidism?
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Increased thirst and urination
- Poor hair coat
If you suspect that your cat has feline hyperthyroidism take them to the vet immediately. The veterinarian will do a full clinical examination. He will possibly detect the following:
- Increased heart and respiratory rates
- Palpable thyroid gland
- Loss of muscle mass
He will conduct a series of blood tests, to rule out any other causes for the clinical symptoms. To confirm a diagnosis, a blood test is needed to measure the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Usually, measuring the thyroxine (T4) concentration.
Treatment of Hyperthyroidism:
- Daily medication. The drug will inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. An oral and transdermal form is available in South-Africa.
- Surgery: removal of diseased thyroid tissue
- Daily nutrition. By limiting dietary iodine intake, the production of thyroid hormone is reduced.
- Radioactive iodine therapy(Not available in South Africa.)
There are several treatment options and your veterinarian will determine the best choice for your cat. Many factors must be considered when choosing the best therapy for an individual cat.