As a cat parent, you have probably heard of hyperthyroidism in cats. In this article, we explain to you all about this illness.
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism in cats is the result of an increase of the hormone produced and secreted by a gland found the neck. This illness affects 5-10% of cats over the age of eight. The average age of cats who develop this illness is 12-13.
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is one of the most important parts of our body. This gland, composed of two lobes, synthesizes hormones through iodine.
These hormones, T3 and T4, participate in the vital functions of the organism by controlling the speed of the metabolism. They also affect the development of other tissues such as the bones and the nervous system. In addition, they regulate the concentration of different minerals, oligo-elements and enzymes that allow your cat to keep the right body temperature.
What symptoms are cause for concern?
The symptom first spotted by pet parents is weight loss. This doesn't mean just getting thinner, but a significant loss of weight.
Then, they notice that their cat eats more and more often, which seems contradictory considering the weight loss. Your cat may appear to be more aggressive or hyperactive (where an increase in the frequency of meows can be observed). In certain cases, the consumption of water as well as the quantity of urine will increase. Diarrhea can also be a symptom of the disease.
Hyperthyroidism is also often associated with heart and renal failure.
What is done when hyperthyroidism is diagnosed?
In order to diagnose the hyperthyroidism, the veterinary takes a blood sample to test the level of the hormones specific to the thyroid gland. If the level of the hormone is too high in the blood, this means that your cat has feline hyperthyroidism.
Following the advice of your veterinary, it is possible to opt either for a medical or surgical treatment. A change in your cat's diet, with low iodine, must be observed.
Medical treatment of hyperthyroidism
Medical treatment has around 90% efficiency with cats, with the concentration of thyroid hormones becoming normal after 2 - 4 weeks of treatment. This consists of preventing the fabrication of thyroid hormones.
However, it is necessary to wait for some weeks for the treatment to become effective because the body needs time to flush out the extra hormone that was already present before the start of the treatment.
There are also several constraints to medical treatment. Firstly, making sure that their cat takes the necessary pills every day, orally, can prove to be difficult for uncooperative cats. This treatment must also be continued for the rest of their life. In addition, the illness can evolve, meaning that dosage must be reevaluated frequently.
Surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism
For surgical treatment, the cat must prescribe to certain conditions, meaning that their thyroid nodules are in good enough health to withstand anaesthesia.
Don't hesitate to ask your veterinary for a check-up in order to evaluate the health of your cat and give them better quality of life.
Thanks to Argos Veterinarians for the information!