Feline hyperthyroidism is a disease commonly seen in middle aged to older cats.
The thyroid gland, which is found in the neck and has two lobes, produces too much thyroid hormone (T4). This results in a higher than normal metabolism and affects multiple organ systems.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- weight loss despite an increased appetite
- unkempt coat
- thumping and rapid heart rate
- increased drinking and urination (polydipsa/ polyuria)
- greasy/ unkempt coat, sometimes with alopecia
If hyperthyroidism is suspected a blood sample would be taken and used to check the kidney and liver enzymes and for an increase in T4 levels. We have in-house testing here so we can often get the results the same day.
- Surgical removal of the affected gland
- Radioiodine treatment.
The medication would need to be continued for life, with a blood test every three months to ensure correct dosage.
There is some risk with anaesthesia and this is increased with the heart and kidney damage that is sometimes seen in hyperthyroidism. There is also a very slim risk of damage to or removal of the parathyroid glands. These glands are important in calcium regulation and are adjacent to the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is destroyed through radiation treatments. This would be done at a specialist referral centre.