Hyperthyroid Disease in Cats

As your cat ages, there are many age-related ailments that may develop throughout their later years. Hyperthyroidism, or hyperthyroid disease, is one of the more common glandular disorders for cats in the middle to senior age range. Cats with a hyperthyroid condition may have minimal to no side effects during the early stages of the disease and that is one of the reasons your veterinarian may recommend annual blood work. Some signs of the disease, however, may be noticed at home before any true diagnosis is made. Typically, cats will display one or more of these clinical signs:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased activity and restlessness
  • A matted, greasy or poor hair coat
  • A fast heart rate
  • Increased water consumption; also, increased urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Catching any disease in its earlier stages is always best and will afford you the most options for treatment, and luckily hyperthyroidism in cats is one of the most treatable diseases a cat can have.  There are several options for treatment of hyperthyroidism, including:

  • Oral medication
  • Radioactive I131 treatment
  • Prescription diet
  • Surgery if applicable

Treating hyperthyroid disease is always recommended, because if left untreated long term, your cat can develop all the clinic signs listed above, heart problems, and an over-all feeling of being uncomfortable/feeling ill.  Once your pet reaches middle age, it is important to get routine lab work, including checking their thyroid function. Luckily, hyperthyroidism can usually be managed with medication.

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