Hyperthyroidism is the most common glandular disorder in cats. It is most often brought on by an excessive concentration of distributing thyroxine-a thyroid hormone much better called T4-in the bloodstream. It occurs when the thyroid glands, located in your cat’s neck, produce an excess of thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone helps control and manage normal bodily procedures. Think about it as an engine gauge: in simple terms, it controls how fast or slow the body functions. When a cat’s thyroid gland ends up being overactive and produces excessive thyroid hormone, the engine gauge is turned up too expensive, causing a boost in the body’s metabolism. While this may sound like an excellent way to shed a couple of extra pounds, the effect of hyperthyroidism on our cat good friends can be dangerous. Over a long period, the overproduction of thyroid hormone can have a negative effect on the heart, kidneys, and other organs.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Weight loss and increased appetite are among the most common clinical signs of this condition. Weight loss is seen in 95 to 98 percent of hyperthyroid cats, and a hearty hunger in 67 to 81 percent. Excessive thirst, increased urination, hyperactivity, neglected look, panting, diarrhea and increased shedding have also been reported. Vomiting is seen in about 50 percent of affected cats. Scientific signs are a result of the result of increased T4 levels on various organ systems.
What Breeds/Ages Are Prone to Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism can occur in any type of cat, male or female, but occurs nearly solely in older animals. Less than 6 percent of cases are younger than 10 years of age; the typical age at start is between 12 and 13 years.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed?
Since numerous common diseases of older cats-diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, digestive tract cancer and chronic kidney failure-share some of the clinical signs of hyperthyroidism, a battery of tests remains in order. A CBC, chemistry panel and urinalysis alone will not diagnose hyperthyroidism, however they can definitely dismiss diabetes and kidney failure. Hyperthyroid cats might have normal findings on the CBC and urinalysis, however the chemistry panel often reveals elevation of numerous liver enzymes.
In the vast bulk of cases, a conclusive medical diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is based on a simple blood test that reveals elevated T4 levels in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, between 2 percent and 10 percent of cats with hyperthyroidism will have normal T4 levels. One possible explanation for this is that in mild cases, T4 levels can fluctuate in and out of the normal variety. Another is that concurrent health problem will reduce raised T4 levels, lowering them into the normal or high-normal variety and deceiving the veterinarian into thinking that the cat’s thyroid status is normal. Due to the fact that these are geriatric cats, concurrent health problem is relatively typical, and medical diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in these cats can be difficult.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated?
A number of treatment choices for hyperthyroidism exist, each with advantages and disadvantages.
- Oral administration of antithyroid medication. Methimazole (brand nameTapazoleTM) has actually long been the mainstay of drug therapy for feline hyperthyroidism. It is extremely efficient in remedying the condition, frequently within 2 to 3 weeks. Unfortunately, about 10%-15% of cats will suffer side effects, such as anorexia nervosa, vomiting, lethargy, and sometimes blood cell abnormalities. Uncommon but more severe side effects include severe facial itching with self-induced trauma, blood clot disorders, or liver problems. A lot of side effects are moderate and eventually resolve, although some demand discontinuation of the medication. Lifelong everyday medication is required, which is a disadvantage to owners whose cats withstand pilling. CBC and T4 levels have to be rechecked frequently for the remainder of the cat’s life.
- Surgical elimination of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is normally triggered by a benign tumor called a thyroid adenoma that includes one or, regularly, both thyroid glands. Thankfully, most hyperthyroid cats have benign, well-encapsulated tumors that are quickly removed. Surgery normally leads to a remedy, however anesthesia can be challenging in these older patients whose disease might have impacted their hearts and other organs. Although surgery may appear costly, it often winds up being cheaper than years of oral medication and regular bloodwork rechecks.
- Radioactive iodine therapy. This is probably the best and most effective treatment alternative. Radioactive iodine, provided by injection, ends up being focused in the thyroid gland, where it irradiates and destroys the hyperfunctioning tissue. No anesthesia or surgery is needed, and just one treatment is usually needed to achieve a treatment. It used to be that radioiodine treatment was carried out just in specialized, licensed centers, but lots of private treatment centers are now discovered throughout the country. Hospitalization might be lengthened; depending on local or state regulations, cats may have to be kept at the treatment facility for 10 to 14 days up until the level of radioactivity in their urine and feces decreases to an acceptable level. Also, radioiodine therapy is pricey. The cost has boiled down from about $1,200 to in between $500 and $800-but this is still excessive for lots of cat owners.
Prevention for Feline Hyperthyroidism
If your cat was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, there is nobody to blame! Enjoy this video for more information about hyperthyroidism. Keep in mind: even professionals are unsure why some cats end up being hyperthyroid. Having a thyroid level included in your cat’s annual labwork from the age of 7 onward will help identify this disease in the early stages. Diagnosing and treating your cat successfully will permit your dear pal to live a long and healthy life!