Hyperthyroid disease in cats is common and is usually discovered in older cats that lose weight but yet eat well, and seem otherwise healthy. Take a look at Hyperthyroidism in cats as explained by an experienced veterinarian...
There are a number of options for feline patients that need treatment for Hyperthyroidism, including radiation therapy and oral medications. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian regarding specific treatment and therapy for your cat if hyperthyroidism is a problem.
“Doctor, is there something wrong with my cat, Tigger? She's losing weight but she can’t be too sick because her appetite is terrific!”
I encourage this concerned pet owner to bring Tigger in for an examination. Further questioning revealed some important clues to solving her health problem. The owner told me that Tigger has seemed restless for several months, wandering around the house at night, yowling and making a terrible racket. The owner also told me that Tigger has had occasional diarrhea and vomiting, and these symptoms have become more frequent.
During the physical exam, several abnormal findings are noted. Tigger is very thin with a poor, dull haircoat. She is very Weight loss, rapid heart rate, good appetite, poor coat... could be Hyperthyroidism in this cat. anxious and restless on the exam table and her heart rate is very fast... more than 200 beats per minute! (average is 110 - 140 beats per minute.) As I continue the examination, I think I can feel a lump in the neck area. At this point, I am pretty sure that I know what is causing Tigger to be ill, and I explain to the owner that some blood tests will help confirm the diagnosis. When the blood test is back, we discover that the Tigger’s thyroid hormone level is more than twice what it should be. We have our answer- feline hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common diseases of the middle-aged and older cats. It is a disorder that ultimately affects many of the body systems. It is caused by an increase in the amount of thyroid hormones produced by enlarged thyroid glands. First documented 30 years ago, the actual cause of the disease remains a mystery. In most cases, the enlargement in the thyroid gland is caused by a non-malignant tumor called an adenoma. In very rare cases, a malignant form of this disease is seen.
The thyroid glands are located in the front of the neck on each side of the trachea (windpipe). Normally, they are tiny, about ¼ inch long, and difficult to feel through the skin. If the glands begin to enlarge, the veterinarian may be able to feel them. Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed by checking levels of the thyroid hormone in the blood. Since these levels can fluctuate daily, sometimes repeat testing or special thyroid function testing may be necessary for diagnosis.
The most common symptoms of this disease include weight loss, increased appetite, increased thirst, restlessness, unkempt hair with excessive shedding and matting, vomiting and/or diarrhea (although these symptoms are often sporadic). Because of the effects of the thyroid hormone levels on the heart, these patients have a fast heart rate, and may have a heart murmur, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and other heart problems. It is important to note that not all of these symptoms may be present in every cat. Therefore, any middle-aged to older cat that presents with any of the above symptoms should be screened for hyperthyroidism.
Once hyperthyroidism has been confirmed, there are several treatment options. They include treatment with radioactive iodine, surgical removal of the gland, and treatment with antithyroid medications. The initial choice of treatment is often guided by concern about the patient’s general health status. The veterinarian will want to monitor the kidney, liver and heart functions carefully before, during and after therapy.
For hyperthyroid cats that have no other problems, radioactive iodine treatment or surgery is often recommended. Both these options may provide a cure of theRx and nonRx pet medications... browse for prices hyperthyroidism and avoid the need for life-long administration of medications.
In areas where radioactive iodine treatment is available, it usually the treatment of choice since this option avoids the risks of anesthesia and surgery. Radioactive iodine also has the advantage of treating ectopic thyroid tissue (thyroid tissue located somewhere other than the thyroid gland), a condition that may occur in a small percentage of hyperthyroid cats. This treatment is becoming more readily available as more veterinary referral centers offer this service. However, because this procedure is still somewhat difficult to obtain in some areas, surgical removal of the thyroid gland continues to be an excellent option for treatment of hyperthyroidism in many cats.
Surgical thyroidectomy is an excellent treatment option unless the cat is an unacceptable anesthetic risk. A very important point here is that age alone is not a contraindication to surgery! This surgery is often done in 15, 16 or even 18 year-old cats. As long as there are no other pre-existing conditions, these cats usually do great, and go on to live into their 20’s.
During surgery, both thyroid glands are examined and all apparent abnormal thyroid tissue is removed and biopsied. In the majority of cases this means that both thyroid glands are removed. The most worrisome post-operative complication comes from inadvertent damage to the very tiny parathyroid glands. These small glands are located close to the thyroid glands and control calcium levels in the body. Monitoring calcium levels in an important part of the post-operative care for these patients.