Hyperthyroidism in Cats by Erin, RVT

Has your cat lost a lot of weight and seems to be wasting away? Is he or she 13 years or older?  Is your cat always hungry and drinking a lot? Does your cat have more energy than normal?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your cat may be suffering from hyperthyroid disease.

The thyroid gland is a very important part of the body it:

  • Stabilizes cholesterol in the body
  • It maintains lean body weight
  • It boosts the metabolism and gives us energy
  • It promotes red blood cell production

When a cat is hyperthyroid, the brain is telling the thyroid to secrete too much thyroid hormone. When this happens, it causes the heart to work harder, beat faster and can also cause a murmur. This also causes rapid weight loss, increased energy, increased urination and drinking but still tend to become dehydrated.

95% of hyperthyroid cats have a benign thyroid tumor. As cats age the risk of the tumor becoming cancerous increases.

If your cat has any symptoms of this disease, I would recommend bringing them in for an exam with one of our Scarborough veterinarians. They will do an extensive physical exam and a full blood profile with a urinalysis. This information will be used to confirm hyperthyroidism.

If we find your cat is indeed hyperthyroid, the doctor will then prescribe a medication called Methimazole. When given every 12 hours, this medication will help slow down the release of the thyroid hormone to a normal level. If giving your cat a pill twice a day isn’t ideal for you, there are a few different options such as a topical medication that you can apply to the inside of the ear, radioactive iodine therapy,  surgical thyroidectomy or  dietary iodine restriction.

Hyperthyroidism is very easy to control at home and when treated, quality of life is excellent.

Please contact the West Hill Animal Clinic team for further information no hyperthyroidism in cats. Hyperthyroidism is one of the diseases under our Chronic Care Program umbrella. Click here to find out more about the program.