Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common glandular anomalies in cats. It is usually caused by excessive concentration of circulating thyroxin in the blood stream.
What are the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism usually presents with weight loss and increased appetite. The cat also experiences excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactive, panting, loose stool and increased shedding. Your cat may exhibit some behavioral changes such as aggressiveness and excessive anxiety.
It is found to be more common in older cats, both male and female. It can occur in any breed of cat and at an average age of 12 – 13 years.
It can be diagnosed by a simple blood test that shows elevated levels of T4. Other tests such CBC and urinalysis is helpful in ruling out diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated by oral administration of anti-thyroid medication. Methimazole has proven to be a highly effective therapy. Some cats experience certain side effects including appetite, vomiting and lethargy. If the symptoms are too severe, surgical removal of thyroid is also advised. In some cases hyperthyroidism is caused by a benign tumor known as thyroid adenoma and surgical removal cures the symptoms. Radioactive iodine therapy is another treatment option. Radioactive iodine is given by injection. Iodine is concentrated in the gland and destroys the hyper functioning tissue.
Complications of hyperthyroidism include high blood pressure, heat intolerance, heart problems and difficulty in breathing.
Make sure the diet you feed your cat is low in iodine. Many cat foods make iodine a part of their recipe and it is present in large amounts. So make sure you look properly at processed cat food before getting one.
It is a treatable disease and your cat would need some special assistance while they on a treatment regimen. You may have to look after them closely to see if any side effect is occurring and if the symptoms are becoming better.