Hyperthyroidism In Felines
Hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disorder in cats that is characterized by an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and other body functions. In cats with hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including weight loss, increased appetite, increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperactivity.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in cats is a benign tumor (adenoma) of the thyroid gland. In rare cases, hyperthyroidism can be caused by a malignant tumor (carcinoma) of the thyroid gland.
The diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is made based on a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging studies. The goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. This can be done with medication, surgery, or radioactive iodine therapy.
Medication is the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism in cats. The most commonly used medications are methimazole (Tapazole) and carbimazole (Propylthiouracil). These medications work by blocking the production of thyroid hormone. Medication is usually effective in controlling the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but it may not be able to completely normalize thyroid hormone levels.
Surgery is an option for cats with hyperthyroidism. The surgery involves removing one or both of the thyroid glands. Surgery is usually only recommended for cats that are not responding to medication or that have other medical conditions that make medication a poor choice.
Radioactive iodine therapy is a newer treatment option for hyperthyroidism in cats. Radioactive iodine is a form of iodine that is absorbed by the thyroid gland. When the radioactive iodine is absorbed, it destroys the thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine therapy is usually only recommended for cats that are not responding to medication or that have other medical conditions that make medication a poor choice.
The prognosis for cats with hyperthyroidism is generally good. With treatment, most cats will experience a significant improvement in their symptoms and can live a normal life. However, it is important to note that hyperthyroidism is a chronic condition and that cats will need to be treated for the rest of their lives.
Here are some tips for managing hyperthyroidism in cats:
- Administer medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Monitor your cat's weight and appetite.
- Provide plenty of fresh water.
- Take your cat to the veterinarian for regular check-ups.
If you have any concerns about your cat's health, please consult with your veterinarian.