Have your cats been feeling lethargic, inactive, irritable, no appetite, losing or gaining weight for no reason? This can be a sign of feline hyperthyroidism and must be checked immediately by your trusted vet.
Hyperthyroidism is a common condition among middle-aged and older cats. It is caused by an increased production of thyroid hormones (known as T3 and T4) from the enlarged thyroid glands. Clinical signs may be mild at first, but may become severe when not treated immediately and properly. Your poor fur-riends may feel tired and worn down all the time, constantly thirsty and peeing more frequent than normal. Their coat may look unkempt, matted, or greasy. In severe cases, hyperthyroidism can also cause diarrhoea, vomiting and hyperactivity.
How is hyperthyroidism in cats diagnosed?
Ideally, your cats must be taken to your trusted vet as soon as you notice the signs. A complete physical examination will be done and your vet will palpate their neck area to check for an enlarged thyroid gland. A definitive diagnosis can also be seen in a simple blood test that shows high T4 levels in the bloodstream.
How to manage your cats' hyperthyroidism
It can be daunting when your cats are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. But don't worry too much! Most cats usually respond to treatment well, especially when diagnosed early. Depending on the stage of your cats' condition, your vet may prescribe anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine therapy or surgical removal of the thyroid glands.
The medication reduces the production and release of thyroid hormones from the thyroid glands which effectively controls the condition. Most commonly used medicine is Methimasole.
Some pet owners choose the radioactive iodine therapy where their cats are given a single injection of radioactive iodine which supposedly destroys the abnormal thyroid tissue. But this option is quite expensive and can also lead to kidney complications.
Lastly, a surgery may be a good option in some cases, combined with a new diet consisting of raw meat-based cat food and supplements to support and balance the thyroid glands.
Here's a fact though - hyperthyroidism in cats is a chronic disease which means it cannot be cured, but with the help of different treatments available, this condition can definitely be managed. So don't be afraid to ask your vet about the pros and cons so your vet can help you decide which treatment is best for your cats.