Hyperthyroidism is among the most common glandular disorders in cats. If your feline family member is 12 years of age or older, this condition could manifest. Typically caused by an excessive concentration of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone in the blood also known as T4, your kitty may begin to show weight loss and increased appetite as the first warning signs. Yowling is a trademark indication that your cat is really hungry, even at times when they would ordinarily eat or after having been fed as usual. Other things to pay attention to are excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactivity, unkempt appearance, panting, diarrhea, vomiting and increased shedding.
It can happen in any breed of cat, male or female, but is almost exclusive to older animals. Some of the symptoms outlined above are also shared with other ailments, so if you notice something out of the ordinary, bring your cat in for test that can confirm or deny what is at play. Hyperthyroidism can be treated by several means, and each has both advantages and disadvantages.
Administration of anti-thyroid medication
There are some highly effective drugs that can be administered orally or transdermally (with a fair difference in price between the two versions). A small percentage of cats may experience side effects, but this medication can be every effective at regulating T4 levels. Daily medication is required for the remainder of the cat’s life, as well as regular checkups to verify continued effectiveness.
Surgical removal of the thyroid gland
Removal of the thyroid tumor which cases Hyperthyroidism can alleviate the problem, but does not cure it permanently. Surgery may be risky for some cats, depending on their age and overall physical condition, so that is something to be weighed in deciding the best course of action.
Radioactive iodine therapy
Considered the safest and most effective treatment option, radioactive iodine via injection irradiates and destroys the hyperfunctioning tissue in the thyroid gland. No anesthesia, surgery or constant medication is required, and only one treatment is usually needed to achieve a cure. It is also among the more expensive options, and as such, difficult for many cat owners to absorb, especially in the latter years of the cat’s life.
Normandale Veterinary Hospital can help you through any issues you may have with your beloved furry friends. We recommend regular physicals, which can often uncover problems early and increase the likelihood of successful medical intervention.