Does Your Cat Have Hyperthyroidism?

Firstly, understand that feline hyperthyroidism is a relatively common disease and is treatable. The condition develops when the thyroid gland becomes overactive, most commonly from a benign tumor in one of the glands in their neck. Luckily, there are several treatment options available, and the staff at Merrimac Valley Animal Hospital will help you decide on the very best option for your cat.

Signs of Hyperthyroidism

Generally, hyperthyroidism affects middle-aged and senior cats. Symptoms include:

  • Increased appetite/thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hair loss or a greasy, unkempt coat
  • Behavior changes
Feline Hyperthyroidism
Feline Hyperthyroidism

The Dangers of Hyperthyroidism

The danger of hyperthyroidism lies less in the condition itself and more in the secondary conditions it can cause. Heart disease and high blood pressure are just two examples of complications, and these, in turn, can cause even more issues including liver and kidney issues.

Treatment Options

The best thing to do for your cat is to catch hyperthyroidism early and begin treatment as soon as possible. Current treatment options include:

  • Radioactive iodine (I131). This is our treatment of choice because, in 95% of cases, it completely cures the disease. While it is a higher cost upfront, it is less expensive than medication if used for more than two years.
  • Oral or topical methimazole. A human medicine, methimazole has been used in cats for decades, and most cats tolerate it well. It is affordable but costs build-up over time.
    • Disadvantages: Methimazole only controls the disease and does not cure it. Your cat will need two doses of methimazole every day for the rest of their life, followed by blood tests and exams as well. It can also cause undesirable side effects.
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition Diet y/d. Reducing your cat’s iodine intake can help control the disease similar to medication. It is cost-efficient and easy to administer, especially in a one-cat household.
    • Disadvantages: You must be very strict with your cat’s diet—that means no more treats! This can also be difficult to administer in a multi-cat household. Furthermore, your cat may not like the food.

Schedule an Appointment for More Info

If you think your cat may be suffering from feline hyperthyroidism, schedule an appointment with us today. We’ll be happy to evaluate your pet and go over any questions you may have. We look forward to helping your cat live a long and fulfilling life!