Thyroid conditions are common among cats, and they are something your veterinarian
will monitor your cat for throughout his or her life. Although thyroid
disease is most common in older cats, it can happen at any age. There
is no cure, but thyroid disease can be managed by your
veterinarian. Here is what you need to know.
What kind of thyroid disease is most common in cats?
Most cats with thyroid disease have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid.
With this condition, the thyroid is stimulated to overproduce thyroid
hormone thanks to the development of tumors. The exact cause is not known,
though veterinarians suspect that a combination of environmental, immunological,
and nutritional factors could be at play. There is no breed or gender
of cats that is more susceptible to hyperthyroidism than others.
What are the symptoms?
Because hyperthyroidism can impact different organs in different cats,
the symptoms can vary. Classic hyperthyroid symptoms include weight loss
despite an increase in appetite, increased urination, and hyperactivity.
In some cases, however, cats can become lethargic and have a reduced appetite.
These symptoms can sometimes indicate severe hyperthyroidism, and your
veterinarian should evaluate them as soon as possible. If your vet suspects
hyperthyroidism, he or she will perform a physical exam of the thyroid
to see if it is enlarged and do blood work to measure thyroid functioning.
In some cases, diagnostic imaging may also be needed.
What treatments are available?
Because hyperthyroidism can lead to heart failure, getting treatment is
important. Medication can help to suppress thyroid functioning, but it
needs to be administered for life. In some cases, surgical removal of
one gland of the thyroid is recommended, but the other gland may then
become hyperactive. Radioactive iodine treatment is another excellent
treatment option, but it does require an extended stay in the pet hospital
before your cat can safely come home.
Hyperthyroidism is manageable with help from your veterinarian at Chastain
Veterinary Medical Group, where we offer complete
pet diagnostic and treatment services on-site. To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please
phone Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas at (972) 239-1309 or
phone Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney/Frisco area at (972) 529-5033.