Hyperthyroidism in cats: Causes and Symptoms

Every year, more and more domestic cats are susceptible to endocrine diseases due to metabolic disorders in the body. Improper functioning of the pancreas, which produces a large amount of hormones in the cat’s body, leads to hyperthyroidism.

With a pathological disease most often face old representatives of the cat family. Cats under 10 years of age are less at risk.

Why do cats get hyperthyroidism?

The thyroid gland has vital hormones for the cat’s body. Due to the proper functioning of hormones, the body’s cells grow and develop correctly, and the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins is regulated accordingly. In addition, healthy thyroid hormones have a positive effect on heat exchange and oxygen consumption.

Any deviation from the norm and rapid growth of hormones negatively affects the metabolic rate. A large number of hormones and changes in the thyroid gland can be formed due to aging, increased iodine content in the diet, improper care and non-compliance with basic hygiene rules in cats, cats, and kittens.

When should I see a veterinarian?

Pets are at risk of developing hyperthyroidism at the age of 12 and above. Sick cats, which rapidly accelerates the metabolism, changes the thyroid gland, there is kidney failure, they experience discomfort and constant fatigue.

The main symptoms of hyperthyroidism are as follows:

  • increased appetite;
  • dramatic weight loss;
  • increased thirst;
  • frequent urination;
  • diarrhea (diarrhea);
  • vomiting;
  • rolling or hair loss;
  • aggression, excessive activity, and constant anxiety.

If you suspect hyperthyroidism in cats, you should immediately seek veterinary help. Otherwise, the pet may develop chronic diarrhea, heart failure, eye or kidney disease. In advanced cases, a sick cat may die.

How to determine hyperthyroidism in a cat?

When contacting a veterinary clinic with suspected hyperthyroidism, a thorough examination of the pet and a conversation with the owner is carried out. During the examination, the state of the thyroid gland (increase/decrease) is determined by palpation. Special attention is paid to the inspection of wool for its quality.

Secondary examination involves the appointment of a General analysis and a biochemical blood test. An increased content of liver enzymes, phosphates and urea indicates the development of a pathological condition. Then special tests are performed in the form of tests to determine the concentration of the hormone thyroxine contained in the blood serum.

Exceeding the norm of thyroxine directly indicates the disease. At an early stage of development of a pathological condition of the thyroid gland, the level of the hormone thyroxine may remain within the normal range. For reliability with running hyperthyroidism, an additional analysis is performed-a test in two weeks.

With hyperthyroidism of a pet, radiography is prescribed. Diagnostic examination allows you to determine the state of the heart. At an early stage of the disease, as a rule, the heart is enlarged. If the pathology is advanced, the veterinarian can detect heart or kidney failure.

Timely diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in cats will determine the state of the thyroid gland and prevent the active development of the disease during the course of treatment.

How is hyperthyroidism treated in domestic cats?

After conducting a diagnostic examination and confirming the diagnosis, the most effective course of treatment is prescribed for a particular animal, depending on the patient’s condition and the neglect of the disease. Treatment of hyperthyroidism can be carried out by various methods.

Drug therapy

Treatment consists of taking antithyroid medications. To date, the most effective remedy for the treatment of this disease is methimazole. The effect of taking the drug occurs in the first two weeks after ingestion. But it’s important to remember that any of the most effective pills have side effects. According to statistics, about 15% of cats experience drowsiness, vomiting, and loss of appetite after taking methimazole. If a kitten swallows a tablet higher than the normalized dosage, blood cells may collapse, blood clots, jaundice may develop, and itching may appear on the muzzle. If any of the side effects occur, the drug is immediately canceled, and then other more radical methods of treatment are applied.

Surgical method

Hyperthyroidism in cats is usually accompanied by a benign encapsulated tumor of the 1 or 2 lobes of the thyroid gland. Surgical treatment involves the complete removal of a benign tumor. After the operation, the pet feels great and quickly recovers. Before surgery, anesthesia is applied, which is very difficult for cats to tolerate. It is important to understand that anesthesia can negatively affect the condition of the heart, kidneys, or other organs of the animal. The cost of using the surgical method is quite high. But on the other hand, it is more effective to remove the tumor than to constantly pay for tests and buy drugs for treatment.

Radioactive iodine therapy

Treatment with radioactive iodine is considered the best modern method in terms of effectiveness and cost. The essence of this method of treating hyperthyroidism is a single subcutaneous injection. Introduced into the animal’s body, radioactive iodine enters the thyroid gland, where it has a destructive effect on diseased tissues. As a result, radioactive iodine becomes the main factor in the hyperfunction of the gland.

The modern type of therapy is completely safe for the animal’s health, as it does not involve anesthesia or surgery. After the introduction of the procedure, the animal is under the supervision of veterinarians for 1-2 weeks.

The duration of hospitalization depends on the results of urine and fecal tests for the level of radioactivity. Treatment of hyperthyroidism with progressive CRF (chronic kidney failure) with radioactive iodine is an expensive procedure that is performed only in specialized institutions abroad.

How to prevent hyperthyroidism in a domestic cat?

To avoid hyperthyroidism in a cat, you must first carefully monitor the diet. Mainly, the diet menu should consist only of natural products with a limited content of iodine. The best diet for adult cats is milk, Turkey or chicken meat, and river fish. It is strictly forbidden to offer cats only one ready-made food product.

It is necessary to diversify feeding and offer food products of natural origin without harmful preservatives and dyes. For adult cats, it is advisable to limit the use of fresh fish and seafood, which contain a large amount of iodine.

Prevent hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in cats is possible if you carefully monitor the condition of the house or apartment where the pet lives. It is recommended to regularly perform wet cleaning, periodically clean cat beds, furniture and carpets.

For preventive purposes, as soon as the first symptoms of the disease appear in a cat or cat older than 10 years, it is necessary to take blood tests for hormone content once a year and perform radiography.

It is important to remember that cats, like humans, need proper home care and constant medical supervision. Timely detection of thyroid pathology and passing the most optimal course of treatment will restore the thyroid function, support the work of the heart and other vital organs, improve the quality of hair and prolong life for many years.