• A Look at the Risk of Thyroid Disease in Cats

    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.